Thursday 27 June 2019

Ministers quit crisis-hit Austrian government over key sacking


Fired: Herbert Kickl. Photo: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger
Fired: Herbert Kickl. Photo: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger

Jorg Luyken

The Austrian government was plunged further into crisis yesterday when the far-right FPO party resigned its ministerial posts en masse after the chancellor sacked the interior minister over a Russia-linked corruption scandal.

Sebastian Kurz fired Herbert Kickl, the FPO interior minister, after a video emerged of Heinz-Christian Strache, the party's leader, offering state contracts to a woman posing as a wealthy Russian oligarch in return for illicit financing.

Mr Kurz made clear he did not believe it was appropriate that Mr Kickl should be in control of the police while investigations take place into the corruption allegations, particularly as he was party treasurer when the video was secretly recorded in 2017.

"In the conversations that I had with him [Kickl] and with others in the party I had the impression that he did not fully appreciate the ramifications of the accusations," Mr Kurz said.

In response, the FPO followed through on a threat to withdraw its ministers from cabinet.

Mr Kurz had responded to the scandal on Sunday by calling early elections. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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