Austrian Greens question chancellor’s ability to remain in office after he is placed under investigation for corruption, bribery

Austrian Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler of the Green Party has questioned the ability of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to remain in his position after the prosecutor announced the country’s leader would be put under investigation.

In a statement on Thursday, Green Party chief Kogler said they could not go back to “business as usual” with their coalition partners, led by Kurz. 

“The facts must be fully established… The chancellor’s ability to act is called into question in this context,” Kogler said in a statement. He called on issues relating to Kurz’s alleged involvement in corruption and bribery to be “fully clarified” before they can return to their agenda. 

“We have to ensure stability and order,” Kogler said, but stopped short of suggesting an end to the turquoise-green coalition. On Wednesday, it was announced that the Economic and Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA)
had opened an investigation into Kurz and nine other people on suspicion of breach of trust, bribery and corruption. 

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Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (FILE PHOTO) © REUTERS/Lisi Niesner
Austria’s Chancellor Kurz & 9 others under investigation for breach of trust, corruption, and bribery after police raids

The public prosecutor’s office claims funds from the Ministry of Finance were used to pay for “party politically motivated and sometimes manipulated surveys” by a polling institute between 2016 and at least 2018. 

The institute’s results were then published in the editorial section of an Austrian daily newspaper and other outlets within the same media group. The group, owned by Wolfgang Fellner, has dismissed the allegations. 

The probe was announced following raids on offices belonging to Kurz’s conservative People’s Party (OVP). The raid had been expected and the OVP had long suggested nothing would be found.

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