Sebastian Kurz leaves politics

Sebastian Kurz, former Austrian Chancellor, said at a press conference in Vienna that he was withdrawing completely from politics. He added that after the birth of his son, he wanted to devote more time to his family.

The role of the head of the Austrian People’s Party (OeVP) will most likely be taken over by the head of the Interior Ministry, Karl Nehammer, informs the Kronen Zeitung daily and estimates that the departure of 35-year-old Sebastian Kurz is “the end of an era”. The former chancellor “does not want to harm Austria’s policy anymore,” writes “KZ” and reminds that in October the investigation conducted by the prosecutor’s office for economic and corruption led to a change in the position of the head of government. Kurz was then replaced, under pressure from the coalition partner – the Greens – by the former head of diplomacy, Alexander Schallenberg.

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49-year-old Nehammer, the current interior minister, is tipped to succeed 35-year-old Kurz as head of the OeVP and even chancellor. “With his tough stance on refugee issues, he has always been considered loyal to Kurz and OeVP’s asylum policy,” writes “KZ”.

Kurz, who took over the leadership of the party in 2017 and had extensive powers there, may leave the government as a result of which the government may resign. The option is now being considered that Nehammer would replace Schallenberg as chancellor, and thus Schallenberg “could return to the second tier” and take up the position of foreign minister again. In turn, Nehammer as the head of the Ministry of the Interior would be replaced by Constitutional Minister Karoline Edtstadler.

“For the former Chancellor Kurz, there will most likely be a good job in the private sector,” the Austrian media believe.

Sebastian Kurz at the press conferencePAP / EPA / CHRISTIAN BRUNA

Kurz wants to devote himself to the family

The reasons for his decision were communicated by Kurz at a press conference held at noon at the OeVP headquarters in Vienna. He confirmed that he was resigning as party leader and chairman of the OeVP parliamentary caucus. – Looking back on this period in my life, I feel grateful. I think I can consider myself very happy – said Kurz at the conference. He recalled his 10 years in Austrian politics as State Secretary, Foreign Minister and Federal Chancellor. – I always did my best and tried everything – emphasized Kurz.

– Politics is an emotional roller-coaster. On the one hand, it’s great when you can change something. At the same time, many decisions have to be made every day, under constant surveillance and pressure. Working intensively, there was no time for other things – said Kurz, adding that “some matters were neglected, especially his own family”. When his son Konstantin was born, Kurz realized that “there are also beautiful things besides politics” and this event “trumped everything else”, even with two victories in the 2017 and 2019 elections.

Politics is an emotional roller-coaster. On the one hand, it’s great when you can change something. At the same time, many decisions have to be made every day, under constant surveillance and pressure. Working intensively, there was no time for other things

The former chancellor admitted that “” in the last few months, the last weeks and days, this enthusiasm (for political work – ed.) Has slightly diminished. ” Kurz had to defend himself, among others against the prosecution’s accusations regarding his and several close associates’ involvement in the corruption scandal. “I’m in a phase where my passion for politics has certainly diminished a bit,” admitted Kurz. – Of course I made the wrong decisions. At the same time, I would like to say clearly: I am neither a saint nor a criminal. I am a person with strengths and weaknesses – he added.

Kurz, who waived his parliamentary immunity on November 17, stressed that “personally, he is looking forward to the day when he will be able to prove in court that the charges against them are false.” For the next Friday, Kurz announced his resignation from the position of party chairman, and thus an official departure from politics. He concluded that he was looking forward to spending time with his family. “I’m going to go out now and pick up my son and my girlfriend from the hospital,” said Kurz, smiling, ending the press conference.

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / CHRISTIAN BRUNA

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