Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, suspected of corruption, announces his resignation

The center-right leader explained that he was leaving his post to ensure “the stability” of the country while refuting “false accusations” after the opening of an investigation against him for corruption.

Sebastian Kurz gives up. The Austrian conservative chancellor, suspected of being involved in a corruption affair, announced his resignation on the evening of Saturday, October 9. “It would be irresponsible to slip into months of chaos or deadlock”, he told the press in Vienna, explaining that he was withdrawing to “stability” of the country while refuting “false accusations”.

“I want to give way to avoid chaos”, he added, saying that he proposed the name of his foreign minister, Alexander Schallenberg, to succeed him. Since the announcement Wednesday by the prosecution of the opening of an investigation against him for corruption, Sebastian Kurz was under pressure to withdraw. The 35-year-old leader had so far refused, denouncing allegations “manufactured”.

But the Greens, the government’s minority partners, have increased their criticism over the days. On Friday, the vice-chancellor and leader of environmentalists, Werner Kogler, ruled that Sebastian Kurz was “more apt to perform his duties”, following interviews with the leaders of the other parties. Conservatives (ÖVP) must now nominate someone “irreproachable“, he had estimated.

Sebastian Kurz is believed to have used government funds in the past to secure favorable media coverage. According to the prosecution, between 2016 and 2018, laudatory articles and opinion studies “partially manipulated” would have been published in exchange for the purchase of advertising space by the Department of Finance, managed at the time by the Conservatives.

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