New Austrian chancellor sworn in as Kurz quits

October 12, 2021 By 0 Comments

Alexander Schallenberg was named Austria’s new chancellor on Monday after his predecessor, Sebastian Kurz, resigned abruptly amid a corruption scandal.

Former foreign minister Schallenberg was sworn in by President Alexander Van der Bellen at the Hofburg palace in Vienna. Schallenberg, 52, is a career diplomat and a close ally of the former chancellor.

Kurz will continue to lead the center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and will remain a member of Austria’s parliament.

A spokesperson for the chancellery told CNN on Sunday that Kurz “enjoys the full support of the people’s party.”

Opposition politicians say this means Kurz will effectively remain in charge of the country but with Schallenberg, who is relatively new both to politics and to the ÖVP party, as a figurehead.

Pamela Rendi-Wagner, leader of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), said Kurz would remain a very influential figure.

On Saturday, Kurz announced that he was stepping down from his position, days after his office was raided by Austrian prosecutors investigating him and members of his team on suspicion of bribery and breach of trust.