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Austria’s Kurz sees no reason to resign despite corruption probe

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday that there was no reason for him to resign as head of a coalition government despite a corruption investigation against him and his party.

Vienna, 9 October 2021 (dpa/MIA) — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday that there was no reason for him to resign as head of a coalition government despite a corruption investigation against him and his party.

Kurz and his Austrian People’s Party (OeVP) were “capable and willing to act,” he said, adding that he would do whatever it took to ensure political stability.

The comments came after a debate about whether a governing coalition between his OeVP and the Greens remained viable despite the fact that anti-corruption investigators searched the offices of Kurz, the OeVP, the Finance Ministry and a media house on Wednesday.

According to the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKSTA), there are indications that, from April 2016 onwards, funds from the ministry were used to publish “party-politically motivated, sometimes manipulated polls by an opinion research company” in the interest of Kurz, who was then foreign minister.

A continuation of the coalition with OeVP would only be possible without Kurz in light of the severe corruption charges made against him, said the parliamentary group leader of the Greens, Sigrid Maurer, earlier on Friday.

“It is quite clear that such a person is no longer fit for office,” she added.

Maurer called on the conservative party to nominate someone with an untarnished reputation to continue to lead the current government.

But, so far, the OeVP has mostly backed Kurz, who also leads the party.

The Greens are set to hold talks with other parties on Friday to find a solution to the government crisis.

On Tuesday, a special session of the National Council is planned, in which the opposition wants to introduce a motion of no confidence in Kurz.

The leader of the far-right FPOe Herbert Kickl on Friday said he was ready to hold talks with other parties about the path forward. The party holds 30 of 183 mandates in the National Council and will be needed for forming a majority without the OeVP.

The far-right party was also open to new elections, Kickl said.

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