Home World Austria changes again: Nehammer is the third chancellor in two months

Austria changes again: Nehammer is the third chancellor in two months

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BERLIN – “I was unanimously elected by the leaders of the party and, therefore, a candidate for the chancellery”. The anticipations of the eve are confirmed: the current Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer becomes head of the Austrian People’s Party (Oevp) and next chancellor.

Nehammer is considered a hawk on central issues such as immigration and the fight against Islamist movements. After the tragedy of migrants on the Greek island of Morìa, he criticized the request of the EU Commission to welcome refugees who had escaped the fire that devastated the camp: “it is a totally wrong signal”, he commented. In the press conference following the two-hour meeting of the party that crowned him leader and chancellor, Nehammer said he will continue to follow the party’s “lines” on immigration and security.

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The Austrian Conservative Party has also decided on a robust government reshuffle. The swearing-in of the chancellor and new conservative ministers is expected to take place on Monday. The Greens, a government partner of the EVP, have already said they accept the reshuffle.

The current chancellor, the diplomat Alexander Schallenberg, goes back to being foreign minister. Schallenberg also represents the hard line on migrants inaugurated by the former chancellor Sebastian Kurz when he was foreign minister during the refugee emergency in 2015. The new interior minister in place of Nehammer will be Gerhard Karner.

It was Kurz himself who triggered the big reshuffle yesterday. After being overwhelmed by the scandal of polls bought with public money, the former enfant prodige of Austrian politics had announced the step back as chancellor two months ago. But he had continued to maintain the leadership of the Popolari. Yesterday he also announced his resignation as party leader. And today Oevp wanted to reunite the two functions – party leader and chancellor – in one person.

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In the country ‘frugal’ and traditionally ultra-strict on public accounts, the new finance minister will be Magnus Brunner, current undersecretary for the environment: he will take the place of Gernot Bluemel. The current head of the Youth of the OVP Claudia Plakolm will be Undersecretary of the Chancellery. The head of education will be the rector of the University of Graz, Martin Polaschek. He will replace Heinz Fassmann.

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