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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz loses confidence vote



Kurz's former coalition partners from Austria's right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) said they would support the confidence proposal made by the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) on Monday afternoon. There was no official count for the vote. Instead, a majority of deputies stood in the chamber to show their reluctance to add further confidence to Kurz.

Kurz, 32, one of the world's youngest leaders, is the first Austrian chancellor since World War II to be defeated by a trust.

President Alexander Van der Bellen will now dismiss Kurz and appoint a new deputy government until snap elections can be held in September.

In a TV address on Monday night, Van der Bellen called the current Vice Chancellor Hartwig Löger as Kurz's replacement. He also said he intends to dismiss the government on Tuesday morning and at the same time appoint them to continue performing their work the following days, while he finds a proper replacement.

"I want to make sure that the new chancellor will be a person who has broad confidence in Parliament, also to avoid a situation like today," said the president. "I hope this does not take longer than a week."

  Sebastian Kurz attends a special session in the Austrian parliament focusing on a vote of confidence against him Monday in Vienna.

Earlier in the evening, Kurz asked his supporters to respect Parliament's resolution before adding that he would support the interim government.

"The opposition always had the goal of getting rid of Kurz, and today it succeeded," Kurz said to his followers who chanted his name in the rain.

"I ask you to acknowledge this decision, it is a democratic decision, and there is no room for anger, grief or hatred," he added.

Kurz also asked voters to support the upcoming election campaign. "I ask you to spend the next month [campaigning] in support of the people, and at the end the people will decide in September."

The vote was triggered after Kurz's government was involved in a political crisis over an undercover recording

. A secretly filmed video was recently published by Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache – of the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) of Austria – who seems to offer government contracts to a woman who mistakenly claims to be a niece to a Russian oligarch.

Strache left after the band was unveiled by Germany's Der Spiegel news magazine and Süddeutsche Zeitung's newspaper a week ago.

Filmed in Ibiza two years ago, it is not known who recorded the video or set up the meeting. Strache denied any wrongdoing, but apologized for "everyone I have disappointed in my behavior."

The scandal has been the biggest crisis that Austria's governing coalition has had since its creation in 2017. The Kurz Conservative People's Party (ÖVP) was quickly able to renounce its coalition partners.

  Austrian Chancellor Sebastion Kurz sits next to former Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache in this picture.

Pamela Rendi-Wagner, head of the SPÖ, told Parliament before Monday's vote that "irresponsible behavior is the foundation of mistrust."

Addressed directly to Kurz, she said: "You have chosen to go alone on this road and you have chosen to leave the Stability Path which the people of this country would need so much."

Rendi-Wagner continued, "Austrians have wanted you to behave responsibly and you have not lived up to it."

  Austrian Sebastian Kurz, a conservative rock star, runs a thin red line & # 39; in Europe

While Kurz was wiped out Monday, he could return in September when Austrians went to the polls.

He is still a popular politician in the country and enjoys a successful evening just hours before when the results of the European Parliament elections came in. ÖVP won comfortably 34.5% of the vote – a 7.5% increase from 2014.

Europe's populist parties were expected to prevail in the elections to the EU. Austria's FPÖ is in an alliance with the Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini, but the party seemed to have lost support, according to a vote for CNN-affiliated ORF.

Journalist Denise Hruby reported from Vienna while Lauren Said-Moorhouse wrote from London.


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