ViennaThe Transitional Government of Austria with four non-party experts will begin their first working day on Thursday. The new Ministers for Home Affairs, Defense, Transport and Social Affairs were sworn in by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen on Wednesday afternoon. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) tries to rule the country without a parliamentary majority until the new elections in September.
But he must tremble for his office as head of government. On Monday he has to submit a motion of no confidence in parliament.
The new Minister of the Interior is Eckart Ratz. He was former President of the Supreme Court in Austria and is considered a meticulous lawyer. He replaces the controversial FPÖ politician Herbert Kickl. Ratz is loudly short for education in the Ibiza affair. The Ministry of Defense heads the ÖVP-close Johann Luif. The 59-year-old was most recently deputy chief of staff.
Valerie Hackl, the 36-year-old board member of the Austrian aviation authority Austro-Control, is in charge of the Transport and Infrastructure Minister of the designated FPÖ leader Norbert Hofer. The Ministry of Social Affairs takes over the senior official Walter Pöltner. The former Social Democrat is considered a specialist in the pension system.
Who is the new Vice Chancellor?
With Hartwig Löger Kurz has made a close confidant to the Vice Chancellor. The Minister of Finance has also made friends beyond the ÖVP borders with his matter-of-fact and concentrated manner. The tax reform he is responsible for has found much applause.
During the EU Council Presidency, the former Austrian CEO of the Viennese insurance group Uniqa also cut a fine figure on the international stage. In Europe, Löger became known through the introduction of a digital tax in Austria, after a joint action at EU level failed, not least because of the resistance of Germany.
How independent are the non-party ministers?
Chancellor Kurz has set aside his own shop stewards for the four new cabinet members. According to insiders in Vienna, they will hardly appear publicly even without the control of the head of government. Her press work is controlled by confidants of Kurz.
The opposition strongly criticizes the procedure. "It is shameful that Kurz, the replacement minister obviously demoted to puppets, considering that each and every one of the replacement ministers turkey watchdog and trustee from the turquoise cabinets are set in the nose," said SPÖ Federal Director Drozda. Turquoise is the color of the ÖVP.
What decisions does the transitional government make?
It will not make far-reaching decisions – either in terms of content, finances or personnel. A politically important course will therefore not exist from the transitional government. Chancellor Kurz has already announced that. Instead, it should ensure the ministerial processing of the topics. "It's not about concepts or tempo, but about managing the ministries with stability so that they run neatly to the new election," said Kurz.
In foreign policy, the Chancellor wants to represent the country after the European elections. He announced that he would attend the European Council meeting in Brussels on Tuesday. There, important decisions are made about the new EU Commission.
What about the Foreign Minister?
Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, who is close to the FPÖ, remains the only non-party member of the old right-wing conservative government. Compared to other foreign ministers in Europe, she is considered a weak figure. Because Kurz has settled from the beginning of the European policy in the Chancellery.
What about the Ministry of the released FPÖ-Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache done?
His ministry has gone up in air. The areas of sport and public service have been taken over by the former Family Minister Juliane Bogner-Strauß (ÖVP).
How long will the transitional government be in office?
The transitional government to ÖVP and non-party ministers should be in office until the new elections in September. An exact election date for the new parliament has not yet been determined. But perhaps a second transitional government will be needed next Monday. Should Chancellor Kurz be expressed mistrust, he and his ÖVP ministers must resign.
What are the chances that Kurz will survive the motion of censure?
At this time, no prognosis can be given. For both the right-wing populist FPÖ and the Social Democratic SPÖ have not yet decided definitively whether they will support Chancellor Kurz. It will depend very much on what can be offered to the Social Democrats by Monday.
The ÖVP leader has already announced a meeting with SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner. On the other hand, the liberal neos will not support the motion of censure. The Greens have not been represented in the Austrian Parliament since 2017. The list "Now" has introduced the motion of no confidence in the National Council and will vote against short.
What is the current relationship between the ÖVP and the SPÖ, the two former coalition partners?
The relationship is characterized by mistrust and rejection. The SPÖ feels overruled in forming the transitional government. In short, the opposition Social Democrats did not really get involved in the question of which experts he brought to the government. In SPÖ circles was the talk of "sham talks" of short with the Social Democrats.
In addition, the Social Democrats have demanded from the outset a complete single government of experts. But the ÖVP boss was not ready for that. These days, it's also about interpretation sovereignty. The SPÖ managing director and former media minister Thomas Drozda wants to show Kurz. "The monstrous allegations of the Federal Chancellor, who claims in several interviews that the SPÖ would have to do with the Ibiza video, will have a judicial sequel," threatened the confidante of SPÖ leader Rendi-Wagner. Drozda alleged that the Chancellor wanted to involve the Social Democrats in the Ibiza affair.
Why are Kurz also and his ÖVP ministers resigned until the early elections?
Staying in office has great advantages for the OVP leader in the upcoming election campaign. He can stage himself as a crisis manager and stabilizer of Austria. The chancellor's office guarantees him high media attention, which the 32-year-old will use with his well-rehearsed media and campaign team.
The chancellor's office is considered a major strategic asset in the electoral vote for the early parliamentary elections in September. Short is according to matching polls the most popular politician in Austria.
How did the transitional government in Austria come about?
The appointment of a transitional government was made necessary by the Ibiza affair. A video showed former FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache with a supposed Russian oligarch's daughter. With her, the right-wing populist talked about party donations, a participation in the "Kronen Zeitung", a public procurement boycott for the construction company Strabag and the privatization of the ORF. As a result, Kurz ended the coalition with right-wing populists.
Comment: Why Sebastian Kurz could emerge victorious from the parliamentary elections.
(t) Government (t) Minister (t) Sebastian Kurz (t) Ibiza Video (t) OVP (t) FPÖ (t) Expert Government (t) Politician (t) Ministry (t) Corruption (t ) Austrian People's Party (t) SPÖ (t) Freedom Party of Austria (t) Alliance 90-The Greens (t) Strabag SE (t) Neos (t) ORF (t) Uniqa Insurance (t) Krone Verlag GmbH & Co (t) Sebastian Kurz (t) Pamela Rendi-Wagner (t) Heinz-Christian Strache (t) Hartwig Löger