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Austrian chancellor removed from office following no-confidence vote

The no-confidence vote comes following the resignation of his deputy over a hidden camera sting.

Image: Ronald Zak/Press Association

AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR SEBASTIAN Kurz has lost a no-confidence vote in parliament – removing him from office days after a hidden-camera sting forced his deputy to resign.

The no-confidence vote makes Kurz Austria’s shortest-serving chancellor, as well as the first in post-war Austrian history to be removed by a no-confidence vote. 

The no-confidence vote follows a successful European election for Kurz, whose centre-right People’s Party (OeVP) is projected to receive 34.9% of the vote and gain an extra two seats in the European parliament. 

Kurz’s vice-chancellor had been Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe). However, he was forced to resign after media reports emerged earlier this month alleging that Strache promised public contracts in return for campaign help from a fake Russian backer he met in a luxury villa on the island of Ibiza a few months before 2017′s parliamentary elections in Austria.

Strache has insisted that he was the “victim of a targeted political attack” which had used illegal means. 

The so-called “Ibiza-gate” scandal ended the coalition between the two parties and led to Kurz calling early elections for the autumn, but the Austrian opposition said the 32-year-old leader must also take responsibility for the scandal.

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The vote took place in a special sitting of the Austrian parliament in Vienna with more than half of MPs withdrawing their support for Kurz and his government. 

Austrian president Alexander Van der Bellen will now appoint experts to lead the government and all the ministries until the elections.

- © AFP 2019

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