Monday, January 24

Austria: Interior Minister chosen to become new Chancellor

The Austrian Conservative Party on Friday appointed Interior Minister Karl Nehammer, who will become the next Chancellor, as its new leader, after the departure of Sebastian Kurz.

“Today I was unanimously appointed by the leadership of the ÖVP as party chairman and therefore as candidate for chancellor,” Nehammer told reporters in Vienna.

“I am extremely grateful, it is an honor and a privilege that I did not expect,” he added.

The 49-year-old politician announced on this occasion a vast cabinet reshuffle. Finance Minister Gernot Blümel has already announced his resignation.

Alexander Schallenberg, whom Mr. Kurz had appointed in October to succeed him in the chancellery after being implicated in a corruption scandal, declared Thursday evening “ready to leave his post”. He will find his portfolio from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On Thursday, Sebastian Kurz announced he was leaving politics, barely two months after leaving the head of government.

He remained in the direction of his training, of which he also chaired the parliamentary group, but he explained that he saw “a new chapter” being started, saying he was “worn out” by the recent accusations by the prosecution.

In October, several places including the Chancellery and the Ministry of Finance were raided as part of an investigation into suspicions of embezzlement of public funds between 2016 and 2018.

The alleged hijacking was intended to finance the publication of falsified polls and laudatory media coverage of Sebastian Kurz in the media of an influential Austrian press group, Österreich.

In exchange, the latter was rewarded via the purchase of lucrative advertising inserts, according to the elements of the parquet floor.

The conservatives have participated in the executive in Austria since 1987 and rule either with the Social Democrats or with the extreme right.

In early 2020, they formed an unprecedented coalition with environmentalists.

Karl Nehammer will become the fifth Austrian Chancellor appointed to this post since 2016. The date of his inauguration has not yet been set.

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