Austria – Forced to resign from the Chancellery on 11 October because of an investigation into allegations of corruption and misappropriation of public funds carried out by the financial prosecutor’s office, the former chancellor and young leader of Austrian politics, Sebastian Kurz, is said to have announced to his political friends his intention of resigning from the leadership of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) as well as from the presidency of his parliamentary group, and of retiring from politics altogether. The news comes from the conservative Viennese daily Die Presse.
Karl Nehammer in the Chancellery would be a sign of the executive taking a hard line
According to Die Presse, his successor at the head of the party should not be the current (acting) chancellor, Alexander Schallenberg, but Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer, who has been particularly conspicuous over the past two years both for his gradual abandonment of the fight against illegal immigration and for his focus on opponents of anti-Covid health measures, making him one of the FPÖ’s (the national-conservative opposition) main pet peeves. Nehammer is also expected to replace Schallenberg in the Chancellery, while Schallenberg would regain the portfolio of Foreign Affairs.
Given the positions taken by Karl Nehammer, this change in the leadership of the People’s Party that is in coalition with the Greens could herald an even harder line against the opposition and in favour of coercive health policies (lockdowns, compulsory vaccination, etc.).