An apology in advance: I rarely feel the need to vent about political issues here. I don’t enjoy politics but I do enjoy tech, sci-fi, games, and books… but sometimes enough is just enough.
In case you haven’t heard of it yet: We have, once again, a political crisis in Austria. A couple of days ago, public prosecutors executed a search in the offices of the chancellery and his party (ÖVP). Various people who previously worked for the ministry of finance et al. are suspected to have financed party-internal operations (e.g. public surveys) using the budget of the ministry. It all boils down to charges for breach of trust, corruption et al.
Once again, chancellor Kurz is suspected to have been involved there. While these are still ongoing investigations and everyone deserves to be seen as innocent until proven guilty this whole story (and the various others over the last year) make for a really bad impression of S. Kurz and his whole party and all of Austria and our public image suffers.
If even half of the claims around him and his close friends (e.g. Martin Ho) are true, then all of them deserve to be removed from their public offices immediately and should never have been allowed near those offices in the first place! Austria is not a self-service restaurant where you can just go around and do as you please. If those claims turn out to be true, then that’s exactly what Kurz and his friends are doing to Austria, though. Remember the Ibiza affair a bit more than 2 years ago? The current stuff is far worse…
OK, so why not replace him in his party? The ÖVP is currently in a coalition with the Greens. Can’t they do anything? First, it looks like all of the ÖVP is suffering from some kind of Stockholm syndrome. Kurz allowed them to win some elections over the last years and now they will support literally anything he does. The other ÖVP members of his government already announced that they would only continue if Kurz stays chancellor.
And the Green Party cannot do all that much except for leave the coalition and dismantle the government. In the National Council we currently have the following party distribution:
- ÖVP: 71 (right)
- Greens: 26 (left)
- SPÖ: 40 (left)
- FPÖ: 30 (far right)
- NEOS: 15 (center)
- Independents: 1
A majority would require 92 seats. Greens, SPÖ and NEOS together only have 81 so they the FPÖ to form a new government. I’m pretty sure that this won’t happen. So the only option left would be to form a government that is mostly neutral, similar to what we had right after Ibiza. Such a government cannot move much and can basically only keep everything running, relying on the National Council to work out the larger topics by themselves.
This means that right now Austria is in a deadlock unless enough people in the ÖVP also say that enough is enough… That would require some courage and decency…