Austria’s ex-Chancellor Kurz leaves politics

Status: 02.12.2021 12:12 p.m.

ÖVP boss Kurz withdraws from Austria’s politics: He can no longer work politically with full enthusiasm. His focus is now on the family, he justified the move. He resigned as Chancellor in October on charges of corruption.

At a press conference, Austria’s former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated that he was withdrawing from politics. The 35-year-old, who is suspected of corruption, said that he was resigning from his posts as party leader and parliamentary group leader of the conservative ÖVP.

The decision was not easy for him, but he is extremely grateful for the experience over the past ten years. “I always did my best and tried everything,” said Kurz. But he does not want to claim that he did nothing wrong. He made wrong decisions and did not always live up to his demands.

“A little bit of the feeling of being chased”

Now he is personally looking forward to the day when he can prove in court that the allegations against him are false. “You almost have the feeling that you are being hunted,” explained Kurz. This feeling was also positive because it motivated him and his team to perform at their best.

In the past few weeks, especially after the birth of his son, he “has now become aware of how many beautiful and important things there are outside of politics.”

The “Krone” newspaper had previously reported on the planned withdrawal. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer is to be the new ÖVP boss.

Purchased surveys?

Kurz resigned as head of government in October after corruption investigators searched the Chancellery and the ÖVP headquarters, among other things. Kurz and some of his close political colleagues are suspected by the prosecutor of having circulated manipulated polls in the media. Public funds are said to have been diverted for this. Among other things, the allegation of infidelity is in the room. Kurz, who denies the allegations, moved to parliament after resigning as group leader. He also remained chairman of the ÖVP.

In mid-November Austria’s parliament voted for Kurz’s immunity to be lifted in order to enable the allegations to be clarified quickly.

Steep political career

Kurz had previously had a steep career. At 27 he became Foreign Minister and at 31 Chancellor. His first term as head of government ended in 2019 after corruption allegations surfaced against the coalition partners of the right-wing FPÖ.

In the course of coming to terms with the so-called Ibiza scandal, investigators also examined chats from the ÖVP environment, which Kurz finally brought down.

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