Austria’s parliament will vote on the future of embattled Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Vienna today.
Mr Kurz’s centre-right People’s Party (OVP) currently rules as a minority government after far-right coalition partner, the Freedom Party (FPO), quit government on May 21. The FPO quit after Mr Kurz dismissed its interior minister to ensure that an investigation into FPO leader and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache is not tainted.
The Chancellor has also called a snap election for September and replaced all FPO’s cabinet positions with senior civil servants. However, today’s vote would essentially result in all cabinet positions being made vacant and taken over by ranking civil servants.
As the OVP only control some 30% of seats, the vote will succeed if the Social Democrats—the major opposition party—and the FPO support the motion. But despite today’s predicament, Kurz and the OVP stand to gain from the September election—post-collapse polling shows an increase in the ruling party’s support to 38%, well ahead of its rivals.
Kurz seeks the highly unlikely goal of ruling alone. Such a scenario will probably maintain the OVP’s tough anti-immigration stance but untether the government from suspicions of Russian influence synonymous with the FPO.
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John is a Senior Analyst with an interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics. Master of International Relations (Australian National University) graduate with study focus on the Indo-Pacific. Qualified lawyer (University of Auckland, NZ) with experience in post-colonial Pacific & NZ legal systems.