+++ Breaking News, May 27, 16:20 +++

The vote of no confidence went through. Sebastian Kurz is no longer Chancellor of Austria.

 


The End of King Kurz? No Confidence Vote This Afternoon

Social Democrats and the Freedom Party announce that they will support a vote of “no confidence” in Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his conservatives in the ÖVP.

The far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) has announced that it will join the center-left Social Democrats (SPÖ) in passing a parliamentary Misstrauensantrag (vote of no confidence) against conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), which would end his premiership and the transitional government that had been in place for a week. Kurz and his Christian Democrats (ÖVP) would then join the other major parties – FPÖ, SPÖ, Neos, Greens, and Jetzt – in campaigning from a position outside of the government.

The no-confidence motion requires the combined support of both FPÖ and SPÖ votes, making strange bedfellows of parties that have been enemies for so long. FPÖ leaders have been seething on social media and in interviews over their “betrayal” at the hand of Chancellor Kurz following the Ibiza scandal and dissolution of the ruling ÖVP/FPÖ coalition. Beyond the desire for revenge, early EU results seem to show only modest harm to their party from Ibiza-Gate, so they can continue to count on the loyalty of their voting base.

To the SPÖ, Kurz’s original sin was forming a coalition with the FPÖ in the first place – something they have argued for days – and that he cannot provide Austria any meaningful stability. This rhetoric seems not to have paid off in the EU parliamentary elections: Despite painting Kurz as unworthy to lead, it seems any losses the FPÖ did suffer were added only to the ÖVP’s already strong lead.

If Kurz is toppled today, the ÖVP victory in the EU election remains, taking home the lion’s share of European Parliament mandates. Leading Austrian media observers agree they’re still the party to beat in September’s national elections.

 

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Naomi Hunt is a managing editor at Metropole, with roots in the U.S. and Malaysia that have long been buried under Austrian soil. She previously served as a program manager at the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID), working on interfaith cooperation, refugee integration and on media literacy for religious leaders, and was the Senior Press Freedom Adviser for Africa and the Middle East at the International Press Institute (IPI), which defends press freedoms around the world.