Former Chancellor of Austria: And suddenly Kurz is a member of parliament

Sebastian Kurz started his first working day in his new role as a member of the Austrian National Council on Thursday. With the oath "I vow" he assured to com

Former Chancellor of Austria: And suddenly Kurz is a member of parliament

Sebastian Kurz started his first working day in his new role as a member of the Austrian National Council on Thursday. With the oath "I vow" he assured to comply with the constitutional laws as well as the simple laws, such is the formula. His colleagues of the "Parliamentary club" of the ÖVP applauded, also in the ranks of the other factions some clapped politely to the new deputy. Then the Parliament in Vienna entered the budget debate quite dryly. As a speaker in a subordinate position was called: the Deputy Kurz.

Stephan Löwenstein Political Correspondent based in Vienna.

So ended a week in which, in his own words, Shortly after an "emotional roller coaster ride" has brought with it allegations of corruption, the power poker and finally his resignation from the office of the Federal Chancellor. But in 2019 he won a mandate as the ÖVP top candidate, which he returned as usual after forming a government and now accepted again, which is possible in Austria unlike in Germany. Already at the beginning of the week, when he was not yet a member of parliament, his "club" acclaims him as chairman with one hundred percent approval.

"Parliament has determined. The people will decide."

Kurz spoke in his "maiden speech" for about six minutes on the matter, the budget introduced the day before. He had lost a few words about the allegations against him when he went into the parliament building: His "step", ie the resignation as Chancellor, was done "to ensure that there are stable conditions". He will support the government in the best possible way. He had previously distributed a video on the Internet in which he assured that he did not want to take on the role of a "shadow chancellor". And so he praised in his parliamentary speech the "good mix" in the new budget. "Tax reform will be felt by the people at the end of the day." This is true regardless of the observation he has made in ten years of government experience: that in parliament the government factions are always 'pro', but the opposition is always 'contra'.

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Kurz, who became State Secretary in 2011 at the age of 24 without ever having sat in a parliament, has so far been rather strange with this institution. In 2017, for example, he treated the office of President of Parliament as a kind of shunting track to accommodate his important colleague Elisabeth Köstinger during the government negotiations with the FPÖ. Everyone assumed that she would enter the government when the coalition was completed. So it happened. Instead of her, the former Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka, for whom there was no longer a place in the new cabinet, was resigned to the post of president. When in 2019 a majority of MPs forced Kurz to leave the Federal Chancellery for the first time, he issued the new election slogan: "Parliament has determined. The people will decide in September.“ At that time, he did not accept the mandate, but preferred to conduct the election campaign outside this arena.

Pollster released

Now it's time to stay for now. While he supports the government, he wants to defend himself against the accusations. Phrases in his now well-known SMS, "which I would not use publicly," he regrets. But he was never criminally guilty of anything. Meanwhile, the investigation continues. The pollster, who had been arrested on Tuesday, was released on Thursday because the "reasons for detention assumed at the time of the arrest" were no longer available, as the prosecutor's office announced. Apparently, the reason for the arrest had been blackout. The pollster is said to have deleted extensive data.

Updated Date: 15 October 2021, 00:00

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