Austrian Sebastian Kurz resigns as prime minister during corruption investigation

Berlin-Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz said he would resign after facing corruption charges within two years of being reelected.

Kurtz’s resignation is the latest blow to European conservatives who have been stalling in recent years.Christian Democratic Union of Germany Lost in last month’s general election After leading the government for the past 16 years under Prime Minister Angela Merkel.

“For the past few days, I have been accused of criminal activity,” Kurtz said at a press conference on Saturday night at the Prime Minister’s Office in Vienna. “These accusations date back to 2016. They are false and I am confident that the issue can be clarified.”

Mr Kurtz said his coalition partner, Environmental Greens, had little choice but to resign as they signaled that he would not support the government as prime minister.

Mr Kurtz said he had proposed to appoint conservative Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as prime minister. Mr Kurtz said he would continue to chair the Austrian People’s Party and retain his seat in parliament.

This week, an Austrian prosecutor specializing in corruption said he searched the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Kurtz’s party office, and other government agencies on Wednesday. They said they were investigating Mr. Kurtz and nine others for possible breach of trust.

The prosecution has focused on allegations that funds were used to publish an manipulated poll in support of an unnamed political party in Austrian newspapers between 2016 and 2018 after the attack on Wednesday.

Kurz has not been charged and has repeatedly denied cheating.

On Saturday, Mr. Kurtz said his accusations were based on a misleading text message he wrote many years ago, some of which were recently published in the Austrian media.

He added that these were written in the midst of that moment, “I am just a human being with emotions and mistakes.”

For the past four years, Kurtz has stood as a rare up-and-coming member of the otherwise ill European conservative movement.

He became prime minister in 2017 after winning his first election as leader, but disbanded his coalition in May 2019 after the far-right Liberal Party was involved in another corruption scandal.

After winning the next election in September 2019, Kurtz formed the New Deal coalition with the Greens.

Write to Bertrand Benoit at

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Austrian Sebastian Kurz resigns as prime minister during corruption investigation

Source link Austrian Sebastian Kurz resigns as prime minister during corruption investigation

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