Austria set for new leader after Kurz resigns
October 11, 2021 - Austria got a new chancellor on Monday, two days after former leader Sebastian Kurz resigned amid corruption allegations. Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen swore in Alexander Schallenberg, the former foreign minister, as chancellor.
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. 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.