FILE PHOTO: Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz attends a press conference on October 3, 2021 in Vienna, Austria. Reuters / Lissie Nissner / File photo
October 7, 2021
VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s Greens, a junior party in the coalition government, said on Thursday it would question Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz’s ability to serve and consult with other parties after an investigation on suspicion of bribery. ..
Mr Greens, a leftist party campaigning for “clean politics”, said he called on other parties in Congress to discuss next steps.
All three major opposition parties have called for Kurtz to resign in light of an anti-corruption prosecutor’s investigation, but not all want a hasty election.
“In this way we have reached a new level. The effect it gives is devastating. The facts must be fully established. This is what the Austrians expect.” Greens leader and Deputy Prime Minister Werner Kogler said in a statement.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that it had placed Kurtz and nine others under investigation on suspicion of back office, corruption and bribery, with varying levels of involvement. Kurz denied the claim.
The allegation is that since 2016, when Kurtz sought to take office, the conservative-led Treasury has paid for elections in Kurtz’s favor and newspaper advertisements in exchange for the press.
Kurz is investigating allegations of perjury in another case, where he also denies fraud. He says he will not resign, but the incident has become a major political challenge for him after he appeared relatively intact from the 2019 video sting scandal that ended the far-right coalition.
“I cannot go back to business as usual. A meeting with Austrian President Alexander van der Beren is also planned, Mr. Kogler said.
(Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Gorlich and Francois Murphy; Editing by Raisa Kasolowski)
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