the conservative Alexander Schallenber, until now Minister of Foreign Affairs, today took the oath as Austrian Federal Chancellor in place of Sebastian Kurz, who resigned following an investigation into alleged corruption.
The ceremony took place at the seat of the Austrian Presidency in Hofburg, where the head of state, the ecologist Alexander van der Bellen, formally ended the mandate of the former chancellor, just as Sebastian Kurz himself had requested.
The new head of Austrian diplomacy, who also took over at the same ceremony, is Michael Linhart, a 63-year-old diplomat and up to now Vienna’s ambassador in Paris.
This remodeling of the top of the Austrian Executive allows the continuity of the coalition between conservatives and greens.
The President of the Republic considered “overcome” the governmental crisis that began last week when the Prosecutor’s Office revealed that it was investigating Chancellor Kurz.
Even so, Alexander van der Bellen warned new policy makers, as well as Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) who remains in office, who currently face “great responsibility” due to the corruption scandal “so that the trust of the population”.
“For my part, I believe that coalition partners will be able to create a viable basis for stable government cooperation,” added the head of state.
The conservative Sebastian Kurz, 35, leader of the Popular Party (OVP) announced last Saturday – reiterating his innocence – his resignation as head of government, proposing Schallenberg as a replacement.
Despite having asked to resign as chancellor, Kurz remains politically active as chairman of the parliamentary group of the Popular Party.
The Prosecutor’s Office accuses Kurz of alleged corruption and nine collaborators as well as the People’s Party of mismanagement and also of the misuse of public funds to carry out rigged polls that were published in the Austrian press.