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New scandals could bombard the Kurtz government – again

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his conservative ÖVP party have governed the country since the start of the year in cooperation with the Green Party.

But the government has been shaken by a series of corruption investigations against senior ÖVP figures.

Finance Minister Gernot Blumel is suspected of taking bribes from game company Novomatic, and in February, police searched his home for clues.

The advisor is a false suspect

Now the counselor himself is being investigated for perjury. ÖVP loyal Thomas Schmid was appointed head of Austria’s most important owner company Öbag in 2019. Sebastian Kurz, under oath, denied having anything to do with the appointment.

But now text messages have appeared between Curtis and Schmid, suggesting the truth is different.

“You get whatever you want,” wrote Curtis, and Schmid answered, “I’m very happy. I love my mentor.”

Kurtz denies he lied and says he is confident the operation will cleanse him.

Other ÖVP politicians are also the subject of investigations. But the party hit back, describing the investigations as “politically motivated.”

The risk of a government crisis

This, in turn, led to friction in the relationship with partner de Gruna. Party group leader says, according to Salzburg News:

The permanent accusation of the judiciary that it is acting politically must be rejected. ÖVP constantly tries to damage the credibility of the judiciary and thus a fundamental pillar of our democracy.

If Kurtz himself is tried, a government crisis will be imminent and he can be reelected again, according to the German TV channel ZDF.

Sebastian Kurtz was already forced to resign once. His first government, along with the right-wing populist FPÖ, disintegrated after the so-called Ibiza scandal. A secret video recorded on the holiday island showed how Vice-Chancellor Heinz Christian Strach (FPÖ) spoke of awarding a contract to a Russian oligarchy in exchange for positive media coverage.

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However, in the next new elections, the ÖVP made strong progress and was able to form a government again.

Read more: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was forced to resign
Read more: Despite the Ibiza scandal – Kurtz is heading for an election victory