DBarely months after his resignation from the Chancellery on suspicion of corruption, Sebastian Kurz, presented yesterday as “the child prodigy” of Austrian politics, bows at 35 years old. “It’s a new chapter in my life that opens today,” he told reporters in Vienna on Thursday, saying he wanted to devote time to his family and to his son Konstantin, who was born over the weekend. latest. He also mentioned a new “professional challenge” in the coming months, without giving details.
Sebastian Kurz left his post as chancellor in October after the launch of an investigation against him, while remaining at the head of the conservative ÖVP party, of which he also chaired the parliamentary group. A meeting of the federal office will be held on Friday and “I will hand over my duties,” he said. “This decision was not easy to take, but despite everything, I do not feel any bitterness,” added the former chancellor. He explained that he had been “worn out” by the recent accusations by the prosecution, which he rejected and which “dented his enthusiasm”. “I am neither a saint nor a criminal, I am a human being with strengths and weaknesses,” he stressed.
The youngest head of government in the world
The scandal erupted in October, when several places, including the Chancellery and the Ministry of Finance, were raided as part of an investigation into suspicions of embezzlement of public funds between 2016 and 2018. This alleged embezzlement was aimed at to finance the publication of falsified polls and laudatory media coverage of Sebastian Kurz in the media of an influential Austrian press group, Österreich. In exchange, the latter was rewarded via the purchase of lucrative advertising inserts, according to the elements of the parquet floor.
Sebastian Kurz was the youngest head of government in the world when he took office at the age of 31. The coalition he had formed with the far right collapsed in 2019 when his ally found himself at the heart of a corruption affair. New elections allowed him to regain his post until his resignation in October. Claiming his innocence, Sebastian Kurz had asked a relative, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, to succeed him. But in mid-November, Parliament had lifted its parliamentary immunity.
A divisive personality
Born in 1986 to a technician father and a teaching mother, the Viennese had a meteoric career before this sudden fall. He became Secretary of State at only 24 years old, even before having completed his law course. He was then appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs at the age of 27 before becoming Chancellor in 2017. He owed his popularity to his opposition to welcoming refugees and to promises of massive tax cuts for the middle classes. To a prosperous Austria but destabilized by the migratory influx, the young leader proposes the closure of borders.
The flurry of anti-immigration measures passed during his first term and his strained relations with the media have made him a divisive personality. Sebastian Kurz has, of course, always asserted his pro-European convictions. But he rarely reframe the FPÖ, while xenophobic provocations from the far right have tarnished Austria’s image with its EU partners. In January 2020, the one whose political instincts and rhetorical talent hail political scientists joined forces with the Greens, a radical shift.