Sebastian Kurz, Austrian chancellor ousted by MPs after video row
Tuesday - 28/05/2019 00:08
Austria's parliament has removed Chancellor Sebastian Kurz from office in a special parliamentary session.
His previous coalition ally, the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), and the opposition Social Democrats (SPÖ) backed the no-confidence motions.
The FPÖ had become embroiled in a political scandal caused by a secret video, which ended the coalition.
Austria's president named Vice Chancellor Hartwig Löger as the interim leader.
In a televised address, President Alexander Van der Bellen said the constitution mandated all offices must be filled "even in a transitional period" and asked for some ministers to stay in office until transitional replacements could be found.
Mr Löger - a member of Mr Kurz's centre-right People's Party (ÖVP) and the country's finance minister - will serve until a new transitional government can be appointed ahead of elections expected in September.
He was appointed vice-chancellor days ago after the previous holder of the office, FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache, was sacked over the secret video.
The president will formally remove the government from office at 11:30 local time (09:30 GMT) on Tuesday.
It has widely been labelled "Ibiza-gate", after the Spanish island where the video was recorded.
It was secretly filmed in 2017 just weeks before the election which saw both the FPÖ and Chancellor Kurz's party perform well.
In the footage, released by German media, Freedom Party leader and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache can be seen relaxing and drinking for hours at a villa with FPÖ parliament group leader Johann Gudenus, while they meet a woman, purported to be the niece of a Russian oligarch.
Mr Strache appears to propose offering her public contracts if she buys a large stake in the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung - and makes it support the Freedom Party.
He is heard suggesting that a number of journalists would have to be "pushed" from the newspaper, and that he wants to "build a media landscape like [Viktor] Orban" - referring to Hungary's nationalist leader.
Mr Strache stood down hours after the video emerged.
President Van der Bellen then fired FPÖ Interior Minister Herbert Kickl at the request of Mr Kurz.
The move prompted the FPÖ's other ministers to resign in solidarity.
Despite the scandal, Austrian news agency APA reports that Mr Strache could possibly take a seat in the European parliament.
The former vice chancellor had remained at the bottom of his party's election list for the European elections after his resignation. But under Austrian law he could take one of FPÖ's predicted three seats if enough people supported him as a candidate.