Austrian government collapses following corruption scandal and no-confidence motion

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Publication Date May 2019
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Summary:

On 27 May, Austrian lawmakers voted a no-confidence motion against Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, People's Party (ÖVP), and his entire government. The following day, President Alexander Van der Bellen relieved the government of its duties and put in arrangements for a provisional, technocratic government until early elections widely expected in September.

Further information:

Kurz's coalition government collapsed in mid-May after the leader of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), Heinz-Christian Strache, resigned as vice-chancellor following the publication of a video, filmed two years ago, showing him promising a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch public contracts in return for positive coverage in Austrian media. On 20 May, all FPÖ ministers resigned as well. As a result, Kurz called for a snap election in September.

Opposition leaders called for a no-confidence vote, accusing Kurz of abusing their trust in his government.

President Van der Bellen appointed the head of the country's constitutional court, Brigitte Bierlein as Austria's chancellor to lead an interim government until elections later in the year, on 30 May.

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Commentary and Analysis
Deutsche Welle, 18/05/2019: Opinion: Austria's far-right show their true colors https://p.dw.com/p/3IitF
Bloomberg, 19/05/2019: Austria’s Kurz Seeks to Rule Alone After Nationalists Toppled https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-18/austria-leader-calls-for-vote-after-video-topples-populist-ally
Euractiv, 21/05/2019: Austrian lawyer: Video scandal won’t affect FPÖ’s showing in EU elections https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/interview/austrian-lawyer-video-scandal-wont-affect-fpos-showing-in-eu-elections/
Euro|Topics, 21/05/2019: Austria rocked by government crisis https://www.eurotopics.net/en/220214/austria-rocked-by-government-crisis
Politico, 27/05/2019: Terminated Sebastian Kurz will be back https://www.politico.eu/article/sebastian-kurz-no-confidence-government-collapse/
Euro|Topics, 28/05/2019: Austrian government ousted by no-confidence vote https://www.eurotopics.net/en/220700/austrian-government-ousted-by-no-confidence-vote

News
Politico, 17/05/2019: Austrian far-right leader filmed offering public contracts for campaign support https://www.politico.eu/article/austria-far-right-freedom-strache/
BBC News, 19/05/2019: Austria chancellor calls for snap election after corruption scandal https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48320983
Politico, 19/05/2019: Austria’s Kurz says far-right Freedom Party ‘destroyed’ itself https://www.politico.eu/article/austria-chancellor-sebastian-kurz-says-far-right-freedom-party-destroyed-itself/
EurActiv, 20/05/2019: Socialists lash out against EU conservatives over Austria’s far-right scandal https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/socialists-lash-out-against-eu-conservatives-over-austrias-far-right-scandal/
EurActiv, 20/05/2019: European mainstream politicians see hope in downfall of Austrian far right leader https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/european-mainstream-politicians-see-hope-in-downfall-of-austrian-far-right-leader/
Deutsche Welle, 19/05/2019: Austria to hold snap polls in September after corruption sting https://p.dw.com/p/3IjPR
Deutsche Welle, 19/05/2019: Austria video 'a trap' to sour relations with Moscow, Russian media say https://p.dw.com/p/3IkDn
Reuters, 20/05/2019: Austria's Kurz seeks to oust far-right interior minister before snap vote https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-austria-politics/austrias-kurz-seeks-to-oust-far-right-interior-minister-before-snap-vote-idUKKCN1SQ0MA
Politico, 20/05/2019: Austrian government collapses over Russia scandal https://www.politico.eu/article/sebastian-kurz-triggers-austrian-election-after-far-right-scandal/
VOXeurop, 20/05/2019: A villa in Ibiza https://voxeurop.eu/en/2019/27-voices-europe-austria-5123205
BBC News, 20/05/2019: Austria's far-right Freedom Party ministers all resign amid scandal https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48335316
EUObserver, 21/05/2019: Austrian government chaos as far-right ministers step down https://euobserver.com/tickers/144942
European [views], 21/05/2019: Strache Scandal in Austria ‘a Trap’ to ‘Blame Russia’, Russian Media Say https://www.european-views.com/2019/05/strache-scandal-in-austria-a-trap-to-blame-russia-russian-media-say/
European [views], 21/05/2019: Far-right Party Quits Austria’s Cabinet over Russian Ties Leak Scandal https://www.european-views.com/2019/05/far-right-party-quits-austrias-cabinet-over-russian-ties-leak-scandal/
Deutsche Welle, 21/05/2019: Austria's Sebastian Kurz faces no-confidence vote in wake of Ibiza scandal https://p.dw.com/p/3Ioer
The New York Times, 27/05/2019: Sebastian Kurz, Austrian Leader, Is Ousted in No-Confidence Vote https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/27/world/europe/sebastian-kurz-austria.html
Deutsche Welle, 27/05/2019: Austrian parliament topples Chancellor Sebastian Kurz https://p.dw.com/p/3JCMS
European [Views], 27/05/2019: Kurz’s Cabinet Toppled by Former Far-right Ally in No-Confidence Vote in Austria https://www.european-views.com/2019/05/kurzs-cabinet-toppled-by-former-far-right-ally-in-no-confidence-vote-in-austria/
EurActiv, 28/05/2019: Austrian Parliament ousts the government of Sebastian Kurz https://www.euractiv.com/section/eu-elections-2019/news/austrian-parliament-supports-no-confidence-motion-against-kurz/
BBC News, 28/05/2019: Sebastian Kurz, Austrian chancellor, ousted by MPs after video row https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48422732
EUObserver, 28/05/2019: Austria's Loeger to replace Kurz at EU summit https://euobserver.com/tickers/145034
Euronews, 28/05/2019: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz ousted in no-confidence vote https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/27/austrian-far-right-to-back-vote-of-no-confidence-in-chancellor-kurz
Politico, 30/05/2019: Austria to get first female chancellor to lead caretaker Cabinet https://www.politico.eu/article/austria-to-get-first-female-chancellor-brigitte-bierlein-to-lead-caretaker-cabinet/
BBC News, 30/05/2019: Austria gets first woman chancellor after video scandal https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-48457549
EurActiv, 31/05/2019: Brigitte Bierlein becomes Austria’s first female chancellor https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/news/brigitte-bierlein-becomes-austrias-first-female-chancellor/

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