Kurz replaces far-right cabinet ministers with technocrats

EPA-EFE//CHRISTIAN BRUNA

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz delivering a press statement at the federal chancellery in Vienna, 20 May 2019.

Kurz replaces far-right cabinet ministers with technocrats


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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz replaced far-right Freedom Party cabinet ministers with technocrats, formally ending a 17-month coalition government.

The breakdown of the centre-right-far-right government comes after the leader of the Freedom Party and vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, was embroiled in a political corruption scandal.

Only days before Austria going to the polls for the European elections, a 2017 video shot at the island of Ibiza was released where Strache is seen promising lucrative government contracts in exchange for media support for his party. A woman posing as the niece of a powerful Russian oligarch promises to take over a newspaper to change its editorial line to a more pro-Russian stance, in exchange for public procurement contracts.

The Austrian government now faces a no-confidence vote while Interior Minister Herbert Kickl will be replaced by former Supreme Court President Eckart Ratz. The new Minister of Defence will be Lieutenant-General Johann Luif; the new minister of Labour and Social Affairs will be Walter Pöltner, a former regional social democratic politician; and the incoming transport minister will be former railway company executive Valerie Hackl.

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