The deep fall of a child prodigy

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The shock was nice, and he staged it in his ordinary skilled method. Sebastian Kurz, who at 31 turned Austria’s youngest-ever chancellor, introduced his retirement from political life on December 2.

Having already resigned as head of government on October 9, this time he stepped down as head of the “Austrian Individuals’s Celebration” (ÖVP) and as head of the ÖVP parliamentary group. He justified his determination to step away from political like by linking the move to the delivery of his son, Konstantin, and with the continued judicial investigations towards him for embezzlement and corruptibility in addition to for false testimony in a parliamentary investigation committee. “I am neither a saint nor a legal,” Kurz stated, while also admitting errors. 

This ends the profession of a political wunderkind, which began in 2009 as head of the “Young ÖVP” within the Vienna Metropolis Council. Kurz burst on the scene with a wierd publicity stunt featuring light-haired women in entrance of a black SUV automotive referred to as the “Geilomobil”. In 2011, on the age of only 24, the “man in black” switched to the federal authorities of the Social Democratic Social gathering of Austria (SPÖ) with the ÖVP as State Secretary for Integration. Two years later, he turned Overseas Minister.

From 2017, he meticulously and ruthlessly carried out his cleverly deliberate rise to the top of the country with a small workforce by first cleareing out the ÖVP celebration chief and Vice-Chancellor, Reinhold Mitterlehner, with falsified polls. He then referred to as new elections, changed his social gathering’s conventional model shade from black to turquoise and to a extra trendy “Listing Sebastian Kurz – the brand new individuals’s get together”. He additionally skilfully emancipated himself from the get together’s traditional masterminds – the provincial leaders and heads of the confederation – and acquired the social gathering’s nomination for all the essential political posts.

After his election victory, which lifted his get together to first place forward of the Social Democrats for the first time since 1969, he entered into a controversial coalition with the right-wing Freedom Get together (FPÖ). Kurz then launched a number of initiatives on the European degree and in Germany, the tabloid media there typically stated it “want to see someone like Kurz here too”, primarily due to his robust statements towards immigration and debt policy.

At first, Kurz boasted that he had closed the normal Balkan route for refugees. He later shaped a gaggle referred to as the “Frugal Four” through which he efficiently campaigned towards larger spending with Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands in negotiations over the EU’s price range. Kurz also spoke out towards EU criticism of the course taken by the governments of Hungary and Poland. He additionally had a penchant for issuing robust anti-EU statements when he would denounce Brussels’ “bazaar methods” for the distribution of the first vaccine supplies.

In Might 2019, the publication of the “Ibiza video” upsets the entire nation. Kurz’s vice-chancellor, FPÖ leader Heinz Christian Strache, was secretly filmed promising state contracts and a crackdown on key media retailers to a lady who was alleged to be the niece of a Russian oligarch. Strache resigned, but shortly afterwards, parliament forged a vote of no confidence in the complete government. A cabinet of specialists followed for a number of months, but after another election victory, with 37.5 per cent of the vote and in a coalition with the Greens, Kurz turned chancellor for a second time.

Because the beginning of 2021, the public prosecutor Wirtschafts- und Korruptions-Staatsanwaltschaft (WKStA) has intensified its investigations towards Kurz and some of his close associates for post-fixing and, within the case of Kurz, false testimony earlier than an investigative committee on the Ibiza affair.

Recovered WhatsApp messages on the confiscated cell phone of Kurz’s shut confidant, Thomas Schmid, who heads the state-owned funding company ÖBAG, revealed doubtful practices. Within the messages, Kurz seems to be completely happy to have prevented subsidies for after-school look after young children. 

The public prosecutor’s workplace can also be investigating allegations that taxpayers’ cash from the Ministry of Finance was used to purchase polls and to then have them revealed within the tabloid “Österreich”. This has led to calls that Kurz was concerned in embezzlement schemes, which he denies. 

As extra details turned recognized, the Green coalition companion demanded Kurz’s resignation, which ultimately occurred on October 9. Kurz adopted up by handing over his place to Overseas Minister Alexander Schallenberg. The latter remained in office for barely two months and needed to make room for the previous Minister of the Inside, Karl Nehammer, because the celebration chair and the Chancellor’s office was merged again.

Nehammer had previously been recognized for his onerous line on immigration, ordering nightly deportations of teenagers to Georgia. It was additionally beneath his management that the police did not thwart a deadly terrorist attack by a radical Islamist in Vienna on November 2, 2020. Police investigators didn't comply with up on ideas from Slovakia’s intelligence providers after the Vienna attacker tried, on a number of events over many months, to purchase ammunition for an assault rifle.

In November, a brand new wave of COVID infections throughout Austria resulted in a fourth lockdown of the nation. This got here after Kurz erroneously declared final summer time that the pandemic was over for many who have been vaccinated, even if Kurz had did not open more testing amenities and to offer incentives for vaccinations. 

Kurz leaves behind a disoriented ÖVP get together that has fallen behind the SPÖ in the polls. Before Kurz, the provincial governors (six out of nine Bundesländer have been from the ÖVP) decided the government’s reshuffles with several new ministers, in line with the politicians’ origins. 

Whether a reshuffled authorities will be capable of fend off re-election calls for from the opposition within the coming yr remains to be seen. 

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