Daily Management Review

Austria to hold early parliamentary elections


Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced termination of the coalition of the Austrian People’s Party with the ultra-right Freedom Party after the party leader Heinz Christian Strache resigned as vice-chancellor and chairman of the political association because of a loud media scandal.

“Give it a rest!”, Chancellor was outraged, listing several less loud scandals involving representatives of the Freedom Party. At the same time, Kurz suggested that the country's President hold early parliamentary elections.

Earlier, on May 18, Heinz-Christian Strache announced that he was leaving the posts of vice-chancellor and head of the Freedom Party because of a scandal around a video published by Der Spiegel and Suddeutsche Zeitung a week before the European Parliament elections. At the same time, Strache denies violating any laws.

The video recorded a meeting of the ex-vice-chancellor, which occurred in Ibiza in 2017 shortly before the elections that brought the politician to the government. The footage captured by a hidden camera demonstrates dinner of Heinz-Christian Strache and his assistant Johann Gudenus with a certain woman who speaks Russian and wants to purchase the Kronen Zeitung edition. The lady intended to influence the upcoming elections. In exchange, politicians promised the interlocutor simplified access to the Austrian construction sector. Participants in the meeting were discussing how to circumvent rules of party funding, although Strache seemed to be insisting on acting legally.

At the same time, the already ex-vice-chancellor insists that the only illegal aspect of this video is the fact of illegal filming at a private party. Strache stated that what was happening on the record was “typical macho behavior supported by alcohol”. “Yes, I wanted to make an impression on this woman that seemed attractive to me,” the former leader of the Freedom Party repented at a press conference. “I behaved like a boastful teenager.”

source: sueddeutsche.de