A snap election is possible to happen upon the request of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. His request came from the downfall of his coalition group following a corruption scandal. The scandal was centered on Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache who was seen speaking with a possible Russian investor through a hidden footage. The Chancellor’s People’s Party has always been in tandem with the Vice-Chancellor’s Freedom Party.
To answer Chancellor Kurz’s request, Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen passed a recommendation for the elections to be held in September this year. He said last Sunday that he agreed to the elections to happen so as to have a fresh start for the government as soon as possible. It is to be just like what happened for the Federal Constitution permit provision.
On an interview made last Saturday, Chancellor Kurz stated that this is not the first difficult situation he had with his party. He said that there have been other instances that he found hard to agree with. Mr. Kurz said that what was shown in the video was his final straw.
Also, he stressed that the intention to abuse the power over taxpayers’ money and the freedom of speech in the country was the turning point for him.
Details Regarding the Video
The controversial video was brought out by a German media company last Friday, although there was no information as who took it. There was also no confirmation of who initiated the meeting, which they said happened in a private villa on the island of Ibiza in July of 2017.
In the video, Mr. Strache and Mr. Johann Gudenus, a Freedom party member, can be seen lounging on sofas while drinking and chatting with a woman, alleged to be a Russian who wants to do an investment in Austria.
The Russian woman can be heard offering to purchase 50% shares in one of Austria’s leading newspaper, Kronen-Zeitung. Once done, the newspaper’s editorial section will be dedicated to supporting Mr. Strache’s Freedom Party. In exchange of her newspaper purchase, Mr. Strache told her that he will be able to award her public contracts because he is setting his goal to start a media landscape like the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban.
He also said that he is thinking that the people’s support with his party will be higher by about 34% once the Russian woman will have control over Kronen-Zeitung.
Mr. Strache even told the Russian woman that if the newspaper takeover happens three weeks before the election takes place and the Freedom Party takes the first spot, then he could make things happen for her.
Mr. Strache even proposed for the Russian woman to start a construction company in Austria like the famous Strabag because once the deal is closed, he will be able to award her projects like the ones that Strabag gets.
Additionally, Mr. Strache named some journalists whom he prefers to be taken out of Kronen-Zeitung. Meanwhile, he gave 5 names whom he will recommend to join the team.
After the video came out, Vice-Chancellor Strache said that his immaturity led him to do imprudent and foolish things and that his resignation was to prevent more damage to the Austrian government.