Political earthquake in Austria!
Following the resignation of Sebastian Kurz (35, VP), his successor as Chancellor of Austria has been determined: Foreign Minister Alexander Schalenberg (52) is to be sworn in on Monday. Like Kurz, he is in the conservative VP (Austrian People’s Party).
Federal President Alexander van der Bellen (77) told a news conference in the Vienna Hofburg on Sunday evening: “This government crisis is over”.
At the same time, van der Belen apologized for “the image politics has given us”. The president was shocked by the appalling “moral image” and “disrespect we saw”. The short affair sparked a debate in the Alpine Republic about politics and the tabloid press.
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Triggers for Brief Resignation: Massive allegations of raiding and manipulation of the federal chancellor.
“Who pays, makes.”
Nothing brings out the strange connection between the media and the powerful in Austria to such an extent as the WhatsApp message of little confidant Thomas Schmid (45).
For decades, politicians have used the press to tarnish their image. The motto here: One hand washes the other. Currency: advertising.
At the center of wild speculation and now investigation: Wolfgang Fellner (66) and his brother Helmuth (65), millionaire publishers of the influential free newspaper “Austria”.
The search warrant against Kurz and his aides since Wednesday has 104 pages, containing hundreds of chat messages. Allegation: The newspaper is said to have paved the way for Kurz to be made Chancellor at the expense of the taxpayers.
The system was as simple as it was effective:
Kurz & Company used a previously unknown polling institution to create the manipulated survey.
These surveys were published by “Austria” as the newspaper’s own survey. In reality, however, they were paid by the Finance Ministry using bogus bills.
And “Austria” gave – the headlines quickly made Kurz popular. Example:
On January 8, 2017, the daily newspaper “Austria” published a full page with political polls about the position of the Short Party VP. Titles: “ÖVP in Survey Basement” and “ÖVP would benefit from a small change”.
Truth: Everything was exactly ordered by the Kurz team! A brief spokesperson in a text message to Schmid: “Yesterday I said what to say in the interview.” Schmid appreciates and confesses via WhatsApp emoji: “I’ve never really gone that far. Great investment. Who makes the payoff.”
Armin Thurnahr, media connoisseur and editor of the Viennese weekly “Falter” on BILD: “The Fellners were never as satirical as the ad Bubers. They have had a close relationship with politics from the beginning. No one is surprised that The public prosecutor’s office is now investigating such links. Everyone knew this, but none of the politicians he suppressed wanted to testify in court.”
According to Thurner, some media in Austria have great influence: “If politicians such as Chancellor Christian Kern (SPO) refused advertisements or interviews, they were punished by campaigns.”
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