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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz loses confidence vote

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Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz loses confidence vote
Sebastian Kurz leaves parliament after losing the confidence vote. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP
16:29 CEST+02:00
Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has been ousted over the 'Ibiza-gate' scandal that brought down his coalition government.

Kurz lost a confidence vote in parliament on Monday, removing him from office.

"An application (by the opposition Social Democrats) has been accepted, so he has lost the confidence," deputy parliamentary speaker Doris Bures said.

The move comes just after Kurz celebrated a big win for his conservative People's Party (ÖVP) in Sunday's European elections, which is projected to gain 34.9 percent of the vote and two extra European parliament seats.

It comes in the wake of the so-called 'Ibiza-gate' scandal, which saw FPÖ leader and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resign from both posts after he was caught appearing to offer public contracts in return for campaign help from a fake Russian backer.

That led to Kurz ending his coalition with the FPÖ and calling early elections for the autumn, but the opposition say the 32-year-old leader must also take responsibility for the scandal.

'Unprecedented power grab'

The no-confidence vote against Kurz and his government took place in a special sitting of parliament with more than half of MPs withdrawing their support, making him the shortest-serving chancellor, as well as the first in post-war Austrian history to be removed in this fashion.

Social Democrats (SPÖ) leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner accused Kurz of an unprecedented "uncurbed and shameless power grab" when bringing forward the motion against him. Kurz's former partner, the FPÖ, also supported the motion.

It is now up to President Alexander Van der Bellen to appoint experts to lead the government and all the ministries until the elections.

Speaking in parliament before the vote, Kurz accused the opposition of causing instability with the motion against his government, but said if the vote succeeded, he would ensure an orderly transition to whoever is appointed next.

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