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01:59

Austria: Kurz sacks FPO interior minister over video scandal

Austria, Vienna
May 20, 2019 at 18:01 GMT +00:00 · Published

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced that he intends to sack Interior Minister Herbert Kickl in the wake of the video scandal that engulfed the Austrian Freedom Party, of which Kickl is a member, while speaking at a press conference in Vienna on Monday.

While Kurz does not have the power to remove ministers himself, the President of Austria is constitutionally obligated to remove ministers when the Chancellor requests that they do so.

"Interior Minister Herbert Kickl was, at the time of this incident depicted in the video, General Secretary of his party and he was also therefore fully responsible for the financial management of his party," said Kurz.

Kurz added that "in the discussions I had with him and other representatives of his party, I did not get the impression that there was an awareness of the dimension of the whole thing. I also got the impression that there was not the necessary sensitivities in the handling of these allegations."

Due to these issues the chancellor said that he thought it would be appropriate for Kickl to resign, as Vice-Chancellor and FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache had already done, but when the Interior Minister failed to do so Kurz decided to "recommend the dismissal of the interior minister to the Federal President."

A widely-circulated video shows Strache allegedly accepting support in the elections from a woman claiming to have Russian ties in exchange for public contracts in 2017. All FPO ministers have subsequently resigned in protest against Kurz's attempt to remove Kickl from office, and the chancellor has already announced snap elections to be held in September.

01:59
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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced that he intends to sack Interior Minister Herbert Kickl in the wake of the video scandal that engulfed the Austrian Freedom Party, of which Kickl is a member, while speaking at a press conference in Vienna on Monday.

While Kurz does not have the power to remove ministers himself, the President of Austria is constitutionally obligated to remove ministers when the Chancellor requests that they do so.

"Interior Minister Herbert Kickl was, at the time of this incident depicted in the video, General Secretary of his party and he was also therefore fully responsible for the financial management of his party," said Kurz.

Kurz added that "in the discussions I had with him and other representatives of his party, I did not get the impression that there was an awareness of the dimension of the whole thing. I also got the impression that there was not the necessary sensitivities in the handling of these allegations."

Due to these issues the chancellor said that he thought it would be appropriate for Kickl to resign, as Vice-Chancellor and FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache had already done, but when the Interior Minister failed to do so Kurz decided to "recommend the dismissal of the interior minister to the Federal President."

A widely-circulated video shows Strache allegedly accepting support in the elections from a woman claiming to have Russian ties in exchange for public contracts in 2017. All FPO ministers have subsequently resigned in protest against Kurz's attempt to remove Kickl from office, and the chancellor has already announced snap elections to be held in September.

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