The Latest: Austria’s Kurz looks forward to fall election
BERLIN (AP) — The Latest on Austria’s political crisis (all times local):
Austria’s ousted chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has told a cheering crowd in Vienna just hours after he lost a no-confidence vote that he is looking to increase his center-right party’s support in a September election.
To chants of “Chancellor Kurz” outside party offices, the People’s Party leader pledged that “the changes that we began two years ago will not end today.”
He says “in the end the people will decide in September and I’m happy about that.”
He criticized his former coalition partner Freedom Party and the opposition Social Democrats, saying from them “we have only heard one thing, that Kurz must go, that’s the only platform of those two parties and I’m afraid to say I must disappoint them both: I’m still here.”
The Austrian parliament has voted to oust Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his ministers, paving the way for a caretaker government before a new election in which the young leader and his party could emerge strengthened.
Parliament needed only a majority vote Monday to pass the measure proposed by the opposition Social Democrats to oust Kurz and his Austrian People’s Party.
Kurz pulled the plug on his coalition with the far-right Freedom Party earlier this month after a video emerged showing the Freedom Party’s leader appearing to be offering favors to a purported Russian investor. That prompted the Social Democrat’s motion to remove Kurz and his party from government as well.
A new election is planned for September.
The vote comes a day after Kurz’s party emerged strengthened in European elections.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz defended his government’s track record Monday ahead of a no-confidence vote in parliament prompted by his decision to end a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party.
He told parliament: “I am very proud and satisfied with the work we have done as a government in the past year and a half.”
Kurz pulled the plug on the coalition after a video emerged earlier this month showing the leader of the Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, in which he appeared to be offering favors to a purported Russian investor. Strache has since resigned as Freedom Party leader.
Kurz has called for new elections in September, but ahead of that the opposition Social Democratic Party has brought the no-confidence vote seeking to oust him and his Austrian People’s Party.
On Sunday, Kurz’s center-right Austrian People’s Party finished first in Austria in the European elections with 34.9%. The Social Democrats won 23.6% and the Freedom Party took 18.1%.