Home World Alexander Schallenberg is the new Austrian Chancellor. Kurz’s shadow over the new government

Alexander Schallenberg is the new Austrian Chancellor. Kurz’s shadow over the new government

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“Obviously I will work closely with Sebastian Kurz, who is the new group leader of Oevp, the largest party in Parliament that has won the elections twice.” Alexander Schallenberg has become chancellor a few hours ago and is already making some discussions. Since the resignation of his mentor Kurz on Saturday, many had wondered how much autonomy the new chancellor would have, and the most malicious had gone so far as to insinuate that he would become the puppet of the former. child prodigy of Austrian politics. Schallenberg made it clear in his first press conference that he considers the allegations that forced his predecessor to step back “wrong” and that any alternative to close cooperation with him is “democratically and politically wrong.” In short, the shadow chancellor remains Kurz.

Schallenberg, 52, comes from an aristocratic family and has followed in his father’s footsteps: in Vienna he is considered an “old school diplomat”. Born in Switzerland, raised in India, Spain and France, he began a diplomatic career in Brussels and entered into the good graces of Kurz as his prince advisor when the former chancellor became foreign minister. In 2019, when Kurz formed his second government, he appointed him foreign minister. Now that he has taken his seat as head of government, another diplomat is taking his place: Michael Linhart.

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The new chancellor is known for his “hawkish” positions on migrants: when the tragedy of the fire in the Lesbos refugee camp took place, Schallenberg hoped that “the screams for redistribution would not start again”. And this summer, when the drama of the recapture of the Taliban in Afghanistan was looming, Schallenberg continued to insist on pushing them back there and when Kabul was conquered by Islamic fundamentalists he suggested evacuating the aid workers to neighboring countries and not to Europe.

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In these hours, details of the exchanges on Kurz’s chats and investigative details continue to emerge that could aggravate his position. The former chancellor announced his step back after allegations of corruption and aiding and abetting: five years ago he hijacked funds from the Ministry of Finance to finance fake polls and flattering articles in a major Austrian tabloid. Austria. One of the key officials at the Ministry of Finance who allegedly helped Kurz in his illegal activities would be his partner, Susanne Thier. It was she who bought the ads on the tabloid that are at the center of the investigation by the Austrian Anti-Corruption Prosecutor.

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The scandal, however, is not scratching Kurz’s popularity. The man who had raised the Popolari in recent years from an endless collapse and who brought the party back above 30% and made it win the elections twice, is still sailing at 35%, in the preferences of the Austrians. And the gap from the second most important party in Austria, the Spoe Social Democrats, is ten points.

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