Sebastian Kurz resigns as Chancellor of Austria on corruption charges. The coalition partner in his government, the Green Party, does not want to continue with the chancellor.
Earlier this week, it was announced that the consultant and some employees are suspected of using taxpayer money to buy positive media coverage. The Austrian Anti-Corruption Services (WKSTA) announced this on Wednesday.
The Greens are calling someone out for “flawless behaviour” and they actually started tearing up Curtis’ hand earlier this week. On Friday evening, Kurz said he saw no reason to resign, and a day later announced that he would take a step back. “The allegations of corruption against me are false, but the coalition partner decided to stand against me,” Kurz said. “My country is more important to me than my person, so I make room to avoid chaos and ensure stability.”
Kurz appointed current Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as chancellor, and the 35-year-old politician himself remains the head of the conservative ÖVP and becomes the party’s head of parliament.
The corruption investigation revolves around facts from 2016. Kurz was then foreign minister, but he had ambitions to become the leader of the conservative ÖVP party, which could be a stepping stone to becoming the next Austrian chancellor.
According to the investigation, one million euros was used by the Ministry of Finance to be able to publish “purely politically motivated and sometimes manipulated opinion polls by a research agency” in favor of Kurz. The surveys were published in the Österreich Boulevard magazine. In return, the Treasury, then run by the Conservatives, would buy advertising space in the magazine.
Kurz denies the allegations and repeated during the press conference that the allegations are “false.” He says the researchers took certain messages out of context. His entourage described the legal investigation as a political campaign to bring down Kurz and his party. The Greens have already met with the opposition to explore the possibilities of forming an alternative government if Kurz does not resign.
In addition to Kurz, nine other suspects and three organizations are under investigation for crimes related to this case. Earlier this week, the court had already conducted inspections at the headquarters of the ÖVP and the Chancellery.