New Austrian Government Sworn In

Austria’s first ever coalition between ÖVP and the Greens is being sworn in today – setting quite a few records.

It’s not the first K.u.K. administration to head to the Hofburg to begin their reign. But Sebastian Kurz and Werner Kogler’s newly formed government is certainly a first in Austria’s history. The coalition between Conservatives (ÖVP) and the Green party agreed on a 326-page government program that oscillates between climate protection, promoting innovation, lower taxes and controversial measures on immigration and integration.

Today on January 7, the new government will be sworn in by President Alexander Van der Bellen. Besides being the first time that the Greens are part of an administration, the new coalition marks other firsts and sets several records.

Female, Young & Back

For starters, eight of the fifteen members of Kurz’s new government are women, a share of 53.3%. The outgoing interim government of Brigitte Bierlein will be the most short-lived cabinet in the Republic’s history at 218 days. Sebastian Kurz, the once and future chancellor, will be the first to return to power after a hiatus. At 33 years old, Kurz is also Austria’s (and the world’s) youngest head of government (Finland’s new Prime Minister Sanne Marin is about nine months older than the ÖVP leader).

With a share of 97 out of 183 parliamentary seats (a majority of 53%), the government has the slimmest majority in the Republic’s history, on par only with the Schüssel’s II cabinet, formed in 2003. The new Turquoise-Green coalition will be sworn in exactly 100 days after the general election on September 29, 2019.

Big Projects

The two parties have already agreed on several measures and plans. Some will be implemented shortly, others – like the “eco-social” tax reform, a centerpiece for the Greens – need to be fleshed out and are scheduled for 2022.

Here are is an overview of some of the key provisions of the new government’s platform.

The Team

In total, the cabinet will consist of 17 members – 13 ministers, 2 state secretaries, a vice-chancellor and the chancellor. Ten seats were secured by the ÖVP (two of which went to people without party affiliation), four ministries (including the vice-chancellorship) went to the Greens.

Metropole will publish a detailed article on all cabinet members, their background and their plans soon. Here is a short overview:

Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), Chancellor
Werner Kogler (Greens), Vice-Chancellor

Gernot Blümel (ÖVP), Finance Minister
Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), Minister of the Interior
Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP), Minister for Economic Affairs
Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP), Minister for Agriculture
Karoline Edtstadler (ÖVP), Minister for Europe

Susanne Raab (ÖVP), Minister for Integration
Christine Aschbacher (ÖVP), Minister for Labor & Families
Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP), Minister of Defence
Leonore Gewessler (Greens), Minister for Infrastructure, Energy & the Environment

Alma Zadić (Greens), Minister for Justice
Rudolf Anschober (Greens), Minister for Welfare and Social Affairs
Alexander Schallenberg (no party), Foreign Minister
Heinz Faßmann (no party), Minister for Education

Magnus Brunner (ÖVP), State Secretary for Environment, Energy & Infrastructure
Ulrike Lunacek (Greens), State Secretary for Arts & Culture

Benjamin Wolf
Benjamin studied Journalism, History and International Affairs. After stints with Cafébabel in Paris and Arte in Strasbourg, he is now working as managing editor and COO for Metropole in Vienna. Fields of expertise are politics, economics, culture, and history.Photo: Visual Hub

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