October 8, 2021
VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s governing coalition was on the brink of collapse on Friday as its junior party said it was seeking alternatives to governing with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz now that he has been placed under investigation on suspicion of corruption.
Kurz denies wrongdoing and says he is willing to keep governing with the Greens. But the left-wing party, which campaigned for election on a platform of “clean politics”, has said the investigation casts doubt on Kurz’s ability to stay on as chancellor.
The Greens were holding talks on Friday with Austria’s three opposition parties, which have all urged Kurz to resign and are planning to submit a no-confidence motion at a special session of parliament on Tuesday. For that motion to succeed, the Greens must support it.
“We will now sound out what the possibilities are,” Greens leader and vice chancellor Werner Kogler told reporters before meeting the leader of the Social Democrats, Pamela Rendi-Wagner.
The Greens say they want Kurz’s People’s Party (OVP) to depose Kurz and name a successor. But the OVP has thrown its support behind Kurz and said that if Kurz goes, the OVP’s participation in the government will end. Most opposition parties have said they do not want a snap election.
“Such a person (Kurz) is no longer capable of performing his duties, and of course the OVP has a responsibility here to nominate someone who is beyond reproach to lead this government,” said the Greens’ leader in parliament, Sigi Maurer.
Until such time, talks with the opposition parties will go on, he said.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Alison Williams and Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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