Outgoing Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has hit out at his political rivals for toppling his government with a no confidence motion, which passed despite his party’s runaway success in the European Parliament elections.
“I can understand the feeling of revenge, the wish to put yourself in a better position for the election,” Kurz said in parliament on Monday. “But what I truly can’t understand is that this vote of no confidence against me is now being extended to the entire government.”
Kurz’ Austrian People’s Party (OVP) lost a no confidence vote in the Austrian parliament earlier on Monday. The vote was brought by the left-wing Social Democrats (SPO), and supported by the OVP’s former coalition partners – the right-wing Freedom Party (FPO), angry at Kurz for sacking their interior minister after the tapes scandal.
Kurz may be right about a vote not being in the public’s interest. Despite the left and right teaming up to bring down his government, Kurz’s OVP delivered a knockout performance in the weekend’s European Parliament elections, taking 35 percent of the vote to emerge as the country’s top party. The SPO took 23 percent, while the FPO took 17.
“I’m almost speechless,” Kurz told supporters in Vienna on Sunday. ‘We achieved the best result of all time, and the biggest distance from second place of all time. It is simply unbelievable.”
Across Europe, the results were similar. Nationalist and anti-establishment parties like Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the UK and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally in France recorded record successes, knocking the center-right EPP and center-left S&D blocs from their combined majority in the parliament.
For Kurz, the results could spell a road to redemption, former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told RT.
“The current parliament voted no, while the voters voted yes to Chancellor Kurz,” Frattini said. “What will be extremely important for the chancellor is to show a rapid capacity to get out of the crisis and present a fresh program for Austria.”
Kurz attacked the SPO and FPO in a speech on Monday, saying “we have only heard one thing, that Kurz must go, that’s the only platform of those two parties and I’m afraid to say I must disappoint them both: I’m still here.”