The current Austrian Interior Minister, Karl Nehammer, has been appointed this Friday by the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) as the new leader of the formation and new federal chancellor, a position that will have to be confirmed by the federal president, Alexander van der Bellen. Nehammer has been unanimously elected by the party leadership, meeting this Friday urgently after the unexpected resignation of former Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz as party leader and parliamentary spokesman. The hitherto foreign minister, Alexander Schallenberg, who had assumed that post in mid-October after Kurz’s resignation as head of government, also resigned this Thursday amid allegations of corruption.
In his first speech after knowing his appointment, Nehammer has assured that his intention is to maintain the line maintained by the ÖVP within the government coalition that he has led with Los Verdes (environmentalists) since January 2020. This is how he intends to maintain the hard line of control of immigration and advance the tax reform designed to, as he has said, reduce the tax burden on those who earn the least, and continue with plans to strengthen the fight against climate change.
In addition, he has insisted on continuing the strategy against the pandemic in Austria, where the low level of vaccination has caused a harsh fourth wave of infections and deaths, and which includes the plan to impose mandatory vaccination from February.
Nehammer has announced that Schallenberg will once again occupy the post of Foreign Minister, the portfolio he had held until October when he assumed the Federal Chancellery. And that, in addition, there will be changes at the head of the ministries of Finance, Education and Interior.
Kurz had resigned as head of the Government on October 9 on accusations of embezzlement and embezzlement of public money to commission and publish manipulated opinion polls in 2016. The accusation of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office is based on a series of text messages between the Chancellor and his collaborators, seized in the framework of another investigation. Kurz assures that those accusations are false.
After his resignation as federal chancellor on October 9, he had held the presidency of the ruling People’s Party (ÖVP) and the position of parliamentary spokesman for his formation. The Viennese politician was for years the “child prodigy” of European Christian Democrats, having been Secretary of State with only 24 years, Foreign Minister with 27 years and head of Government in Austria with only 31 years.