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Who is Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz?

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz recently stepped down from his leadership role amid pressure from a corruption scandal. But who is he? 

So, who is Kurz? 

Kurz has held a variety of roles, despite being early in his career. He was appointed State Secretary for Integration at 24 years of age, he then rose to the foreign ministry at 27, and later became one of the world’s youngest democratically elected heads of government at age 31. He was first elevated as Chancellor in 2017, but that government was toppled in 2019 when his coalition (with a far-right party) fell apart and Kurtz was removed in a vote of no-confidence. That all happened amid another controversy called the Ibiza Scandal, which you can read about here. Kurz was returned to power in 2019 after winning a snap election, and thereafter formed a coalition with the Greens. 

What political party Kurz is a part of? 

Kruz is part of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) which is described as a Christian-democratic and liberal-conservative party. Kurz himself holds conservative views, and has maintained a strong anti-immigrant agenda throughout his rule.

What happened with Kurz recently? 

In May this year, it was announced Kurz and his chief of staff were the subject of an anti-corruption inquiry. Kurz and nine others were placed under investigation on suspicion of breach of trust, corruption and bribery with various levels of involvement, in relation to positive coverage of Kurz in a newspaper. The allegations took his coalition government to the brink of collapse after its junior partner, the Greens, said Kurz was no longer fit to be Chancellor. Announcing his resignation, Kurz said “my country is more important to me than my person…I want to make space to prevent chaos and ensure stability.”

In light of his resignation, Kurz has nominated Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as the new Chancellor. Despite resigning from the role of Chancellor, Kurz has maintained that he will remain leader of the ÖVP.

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