Austria's president set to swear in new chancellor
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen is set to swear in Alexander Schallenberg, currently the foreign minister, as chancellor. Career diplomat Michael Linhart will become the country's new foreign minister, Austrian news agency APA reported.
Kurz, 35, announced Saturday that he would step aside to defuse a political crisis triggered by prosecutors’ announcement that he is one of the targets of an investigation into suspected bribery and breach of trust. The conservative Kurz’s junior coalition partners, the Greens had demanded his replacement. Kurz denies any wrongdoing.
Kurz and his close associates are accused of trying to secure his rise to the leadership of his party and the country with the help of manipulated polls and friendly media reports, financed with public money. Kurz became the leader of his Austrian People’s Party and then chancellor in 2017.
Although he is stepping down as chancellor, he is keeping his role as party leader and becoming the head of its parliamentary group, keeping him at the heart of Austrian politics while he fights the corruption allegations.
Kurz responded to the demand for an untainted new leader by proposing Schallenberg, 52, a move that the Greens accepted. Schallenberg has been loyal to Kurz and shares his hard line on curbing migration, but has a background in diplomacy rather than party politics.