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article imageAustria's Kurz faces no-confidence vote after scandal

By AFP     May 21, 2019 in Politics

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will face a no-confidence vote in parliament next week, the speaker of the lower house said Tuesday, as Kurz grapples with fallout from a scandal that toppled his coalition with a far-right party.

Austria's government was rocked last week after German media published a hidden-camera video showing far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) leader and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache appearing to offer public contracts to a fake Russian backer in return for election campaign help.

Strache resigned on Saturday and Kurz pulled the plug on the 18-month-old coalition and announced snap elections.

Speaker Wolfgang Sobotka told reporters he had scheduled a no-confidence vote for 27 May to ensure "a factual and calm discussion" as well as not to disrupt ongoing campaigning for the European elections.

If passed, the no-confidence vote would see Kurz thrown out of office in the run up to the snap elections which the president has proposed for September.

The no-confidence announcement came a day after FPOe ministers quit the government en masse after Kurz sacked controversial Interior Minister Herbert Kickl, a leading far-right party member.

The no-confidence motion was brought by the small environmentalist Jetzt party, but will only succeed if both the FPOe and the main opposition Social Democrats (SPOe) back the move.

It is not yet clear whether both parties will do so. The small liberal NEOS party has said it will not support the motion in the interests of preserving stability.

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