Austrian Chancellor Resigns After Kurz Withdrawal from Politics

Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg announced he would resign as head of government and not run for the party leadership on Thursday. 

“I firmly believe that both positions — head of government and leader of the Austrian party with the most votes — should soon once again be held by the same person. I am therefore making my post as chancellor available as soon as the relevant course has been set within the party,” Schallenberg said.

Schallenberg’s announcement came just hours after party strongman Sebastian Kurz said he was leaving politics altogether.

Kurz had quit as chancellor in October after prosecutors opened a corruption inquiry where he was one of the ten people suspected of breach of trust, corruption, and bribery, using public funds to commission manipulated polling for his win in 2017.

According to reports, Schallenberg, a career diplomat and widely seen as Kurz’s puppet, took over as chancellor “to keep the seat warm while his political master would try to clear his name.”

Schallenberg was chancellor for less than two months since taking over from Kurz.

However, on Thursday morning, Kurz announced he was leaving politics for good, and his closest ally, Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel, later said on Facebook that he, too, was quitting politics.

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