Friday 29 October 2021
The former chancellor “could absolutely go back”
Schalenberg hopes Kurz returns
When former Austrian Chancellor Kurz resigns over corruption charges, Schellenberg is there to replace him as head of government. The new chancellor firmly believes in Kurz’s innocence – and he will return.
Austria’s new Federal Chancellor Alexander Schalenberg saw his predecessor in office wrongly charged with corruption by the Vienna Public Prosecutor’s Office. In an interview with “Spiegel”, Schellenberg said that he was convinced that “nothing would be left under criminal law relating to Sebastian Kurz”.
The head of government, sworn in on October 9, is hopeful that his predecessor will return: “Kurz absolutely can go back to politics.” For Schellenberg, Kurz is “someone who has taken on a great deal of responsibility even as foreign minister”. Still, he was puzzled by the allegations made against Kurz by the public prosecutor. However, “not every charge leads to an indictment, not every trial leads to a conviction”.
Speculation that he was only appointed as governor, Schellenberg dismissed in the newspaper: he would remain chancellor until 2024 as he “held office for the duration of this legislative term”. Early new elections are unlikely, even if the coalition partner, the Greens, has “some nerves on the edge” and “something is broken” in relations between government partners.
“Your Enthusiasm Isn’t Necessary”
Despite allegations of corruption against Kurz and the Ibiza scandal, according to “Spiegel”, Schulenberg does not consider Austrian politics to be riddled with scandals. “Our democracy is strong, the institutions are working,” he said, insisting: “You don’t need to get excited.”
In early October, chats and short messages from Sebastian Kurz and his surroundings became public, in which the ex-chancellor and other accused spoke about the well-conducted surveys and their publication in the Austrian media, according to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. .
In short, there are allegations of aiding and abetting bribery and infidelity, a charge he denies. Schalenberg told “Spiegel”: “Each of us has already written text messages that are harsh in tone, especially in politically heated times – even though the picture being drawn now certainly is not good.”
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