Austria Media: Arrest in Austrian government corruption scandal – Government plans to continue under Alexander Schallenberg, branded as a puppet

Alexander Schallenberg, who was appointed Austrian Chancellor on Monday, plans to continue working closely with his predecessor, Sebastian Kurz, who resigned over the scandal.

Berlin

Corruption scandal shaken by the Austrian government intends to continue on its former footing.

The government will face a no-confidence vote in the Austrian parliament on Tuesday, but there is hardly a majority to overthrow the government, as the Greens support their partner, the main government party, the Austrian People’s Party, the ÖVP.

Chairman of the ÖVP, at the center of criminal suspicions Sebastian Kurz left on Saturday night his place as Federal Chancellor. On Monday, he was replaced by a former foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Schallenberg is Kurz’s close credit politician, and according to several estimates, Kurz will continue as a “shadow chancellor” despite the change.

Kurz denied that this was the case. However, Kurz will continue as chairman of the ÖVP. On Monday, he was unanimously elected leader of the party’s parliamentary group.

Several protests against the government were ongoing and planned in Vienna on Tuesday.

Read more: Sebastian Kurz resigns but does not relinquish power

Corruption investigations against Kurz and those close to him continue.

Tuesday Austrian media reported that the founder and director of the polling company Research Affairs Sabine Beinschab has been arrested.

The department is responsible for opinion polls that the Austrian public prosecutor suspects have been manipulated against the ÖVP for money. Beinschab is said to have removed the computer’s hard drive just before the home search.

Suspicion of corruption shaking the Austrian government a new phase began last Wednesday, when prosecutor authorities conducted home searches of the then still-headed Federal Chancellery and the Ministry of Finance.

Kurz and his associates are suspected of serious corruption offenses.

Suspicions of taxpayers’ money were directed in return for distorting opinion polls for ÖVP and smoothing out publicity in favor of Kurz.

Schallenberg said to the Austrian parliament on Tuesday that he would continue to work closely with Kurz. According to him, this is self-evident.

It is emphasized in the ÖVP ranks that Kurz must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

Schallenberg aroused strong criticism on Monday by taking a stand on the unfinished investigation. He said the criminal allegations against Kurz were false.

Schallenberg said on Tuesday that the Austrian leadership will continue as normal. He plans to make his first trip abroad as Federal Chancellor to Brussels.

Vice-Chancellor representing the Greens of the second party in the government Werner Kogler emphasized that most of the Austrian media operate independently.

“Giving the right to do their job and investigate independently,” he said in a parliamentary debate on Tuesday.

Some political observers estimate that early elections could be faced next year.

If Kurz is not prosecuted or found not guilty, he is estimated to become the Federal Chancellor of Austria for the third time.

The last time his government resigned was in 2019, when a corruption boom shook ÖVP’s then government partner, the FPÖ.

Read more: “Terrible things have happened in a fast time” – The latest suspicions of Sebastian Kurz’s corruption may be just the tip of the iceberg, says researcher to HS

Read more: Sebastian Kurz was Austria’s favorite son-in-law, but now he is compared to Orbán and Trump

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