Austrian chancellor set to face confidence vote next week
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will face a no-confidence vote in parliament next week, the speaker of the lower house said Tuesday, as Kurz grapples with fallout from a scandal that toppled his coalition with a far-right party. Austria's government was rocked last week after German media published a hidden-camera video showing far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) leader and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache appearing to offer public contracts to a fake Russian backer in return for election campaign help.
Speaker Wolfgang Sobotka, a member of Kurz's conservative People's Party, set a special session of the legislature for Monday. The Austria Press Agency reported Tuesday that opposition parties wanted it held Wednesday, but Sobotka said he wanted to "give space to the EU election campaign." Austria elects European Parliament lawmakers Sunday.
The opposition Now party has drawn up a no-confidence motion seeking to oust Kurz before an early national election expected in September.
Kurz called for that election after far-right Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache, who was his vice chancellor, resigned Saturday. Strache was shown on video appearing to offer favors to a purported Russian investor.