Austria’s third leader takes office in two months seeking stability


Vienna — Austria’s third conservative prime minister in two months, Karl Nehammer, aims to free the coalition government from the scandal-contaminated turmoil and lead the country from the current blockade of the coronavirus on Monday. I was appointed to.

The 49-year-old Nehammer was sworn in by President Alexander van der Beren shortly after 1:00 pm (Greenwich Mean Time 12:00). As Minister of the Interior since last year, he has been the executor of the immigrants of former Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz and the hard line of four national blockades. He is now the first head of government in the post-Kurtz era.

“I don’t know what the virus will surprise next,” Van der Beren swore. Prior to that, Nehammer was booed by a small number of people protesting the restrictions on the coronavirus.

“We must not create false expectations and promise that we will not be able to achieve them later,” Van der Beren said in a clear swipe in Kurtz. -19.

Conservative Kurtz, 35, surprised most of the country by announcing his departure from politics on Thursday, saying he had lost interest since his son was born. .. The party chose Nehammer to take over as its leader on Friday.

Kurtz resigned as prime minister in October at the request of his coalition partner, Left-wing Greens, because he was under investigation for corruption crimes. Kurtz’s supporters wanted him to reveal his name soon and return as prime minister. He denies all cheating.

In 2017, Kurtz’s allies used public funds to secretly commission a manipulated poll published in the newspaper, where he became the OVP leader and then the prime minister, forming a coalition with the Liberal Party. Suspected of helping to gain power.

Nethammer will take over the party in the turmoil that has been built primarily around Kurtz since 2017.

Nethammer announced on Friday that he plans to maintain the agenda of law and order, which is at the center of Kurtz’s appeal and at the same time a point of friction with the Greens. His top priority is the coronavirus pandemic, and Austria is trying to keep reducing infections while it breaks out of the blockade next week, he said.

As Kurtz was put under investigation, he also lost what most polls showed to be at least a 10 percent point lead over his closest rival, the Social Democratic Party, damaging the OVP. The image has to be repaired.

Neither the OVP nor the Greens say they want a steep election so far, but most analysts don’t expect the coalition to last until the end of the parliament within three years. In a weekend newspaper interview, Greens leader Werner Kogler did not rule out a sudden election next year.

François Murphy