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Austrian leader ousted after scandal over secret video

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz attends a special session of the parliament focusing on a no-confidence vote against him on May 27, 2019 in Vienna. – CNN


Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his government have lost a no-confidence vote following a corruption scandal over a secret video.

Kurz’s former coalition partners from the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) said they would support the motion of no-confidence put forward by the Socialist Party (SPÖ) on Monday afternoon.

There was no official count for the vote. Instead, a majority of deputies in the chamber stood to indicate their unwillingness to put further trust in Kurz.

The vote was triggered after Kurz’s government became embroiled in a political crisis over an undercover recording.

A secretly-filmed video emerged of his Vice Chancellor — Heinz-Christian Strache, of the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) — appearing to offer state contracts to a woman falsely claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.

Strache resigned after the tape, filmed in Ibiza two years ago, came to light; he denied doing “anything against the law” but apologized to “everyone I have disappointed with my behavior.”

Kurz’s conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) was quick to distance itself from its coalition partners.

President Alexander Van der Bellen must now dismiss Kurz and appoint a new caretaker government until snap elections can be held in September.

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