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Interior Minister Karl Nehammer Becomes Austria’s New Chancellor

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer becomes the new Chancellor and party chairman of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). The party board decided unanimously on Friday.


49-year-old Nehammer succeeds his party colleague Alexander Schallenberg, who threw in the towel as chancellor on Thursday after barely a month and a half.

The musical chairs were set in motion when former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz gave up his mandate in October. Kurz also announced on Thursday that he would also relinquish his position as party chairman and completely withdraw from politics.

In addition, the former “wonderboy of Austrian politics” faces corruption charges. He is accused of using public money to manipulate polls in his favour, which allowed him to become the leader of the ÖVP and thus also chancellor.

His term as chancellor was taken over by his confidant Schallenberg. However, he announced on Thursday that he would stop as chancellor: he believes that the chancellor should also be party chairman, a post that Schallenberg himself did not aspire to. Schallenberg will now become a foreign minister again.

Nehammer will be ordered to restore calm to the ruling coalition that has been in power since early 2020. However, he has yet to be formally sworn in as Chancellor by President Alexander Van der Bellen. Moreover, he has yet to receive the green light at a party congress for his role as party chairman.

Musical chairs will accompany the promotion of Nehammer in the government because on Thursday evening Gernot Blümel, the Minister of Finance, also announced that he would give up politics.

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