Austria’s foreign minister calls for snap elections in shift to right
Sebastian Kurz, who has been appointed as new leader of the Austrian People's Party, has called for a snap election after Social Democratic Chancellor Christian Kern conceded the implosion of the governing coalition.
Published: May 15, 2017, 10:41 am
Kurz, Austria’s foreign minister, was elected on Sunday following the resignation earlier this week of Vice Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner. “There will definitely … be an election, I assume in the coming autumn,” Kern told Austria’s ORF TV.
The newly-elected leader, said that he would hold talks with his social democratic coalition partners and suggest they jointly propose a snap election.
“I will meet Chancellor Christian Kern and President [Alexander] Van der Bellen tomorrow and make a suggestion,” Kurz said. “From my point of view the first step must be that we reach a joint decision in favor of snap elections.”
The chancellor has so far been reluctant to call a snap election, but Kurz’s appointment at the helm of his party effectively has forced his hand.
Kern has warned that an early election could see the Freedom Party entering the national government. Polls show the party leading in opinion polls, while the party’s candidate last year in the presidential election, Norbert Hofer, made it to the final runoff, narrowly losing to the lefist Alexander Van der Bellen.
Kurz has previously suggested that “refugees should be held offshore”. Last year he praise Australia’s immigration policy and said it should be replicated by the EU in order to deal with the current influx of refugees.
Migrants who try to reach Australia by boat are turned back or sent to holding camps in the Pacific Ocean countries of Nauru and Papua New Guinea while their cases are processed.
“The Australian model of course cannot be completely replicated but its principles can be applied in Europe,” Kurz, who at 29 years old is Europe’s youngest minister, told Die Presse in an interview.
He also told the newspaper that the EU should adopt a resolution whereby those who try to enter Europe illegally lose their right to demand asylum.
Kurz’s shift to the right could see the people’s Party and Freedom Party form a conservative coalition in Austria. In the parliament’s current formation, the two parties are just three seats shy of a majority.
Andreas Schieder, who leads the Social Democrats in parliament, accused on Kurz on Austrian public radio of “playing tactical games for egocentric reasons”.
He was the chairman of the youth branch of the People’s Party in 2009 before he became a member of Vienna’s city council in 2010.
He was then appointed State Secretary for Integration in 2011, and later foreign minister after he was elected as a member of parliament in the 2013 general election.
He has suggested that the European Union puts Turkey’s accession talks on hold.
At the regional level, the People’s Party, the traditional home of older rural voters, has maintained its appeal and leads six of Austria’s nine provinces.
All rights reserved. You have permission to quote freely from the articles provided that the source (www.freewestmedia.com) is given. Photos may not be used without our consent.
Keep your language polite. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in, for example, Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.
If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violations of any law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.
If your comments are subject to preview by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.
We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.
Immigration is the foremost concern for Swiss voters, according to a poll by Sotomo for Swiss news channel RTS.
The Spanish government has moved to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy in the worst constitutional crisis since 1977.
For most Syrians it came as a shock: One of the most popular military commanders of the Syrian Arab Army, Issam Zahreddine, was killed on 18 October 2017.
On Wednesday a tough new anti-terrorism bill was adopted in the French parliament, France24 reported. It gives the authorities, headed by French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, expanded powers, including the search of homes, restricting movement and closing places of worship.
ANO, the Czech party led by a billionaire, is the clear favourite in a general election taking place this weekend where traditional parties most likely will face an uphill battle.
Leftist activists at the Frankfurt Book Fair interrupted an event held by a member of the AfD party and a conservative publishing house.
A huge demonstration held by tens of thousands of British citizens against jihadism in their own country, attracted little mainstream media attention.
A thousands-strong multinational NATO battalion stationed in Romania is part of the ongoing military buildup of NATO aimed at Russia.
At the opening gala of the Frankfurt Book Fair on Tuesday night, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron appealed to their audience for more "tolerance and diversity" and books to counter the rise of nationalism.
A respected French philosopher, Damien Le Guay, believes that by refusing to acknowledge we are in a state of civil war with radical Islam, we are in fact only aggravating the situation.