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Austria holds early elections after secret video scandal overthrows Sebastian Kurtz government



The leader of the Conservative People's Party (ÖVP), Kurtz, who is one of the youngest leaders in the world at 33, is the first chancellor of Austria since World War II to be defeated by a motion of no confidence.

Voting takes place after the Kurtz Government gets involved in a political crisis over undercover records. The secretly filmed video shows Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Stretch – of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) – appearing to be offering state contracts to a woman who falsely claims to be a niece of a Russian oligarch.

Strache resigned after the tape was revealed by the German magazine Der Spiegel and the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. Filmed in Ibiza two years ago, it was not known who recorded the video or created the date. Strache denied any wrongdoing, but apologized to "everyone I am disappointed with."

The scandal was the biggest crisis the ruling Austrian coalition has faced since its inception in 201

7. The Conservative People's Party of Kurtz (ÖVP) is quickly distancing itself from its coalition partners.

  It seems that Sebastian Kurtz wants to undermine some of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's welcoming approach to migrants.

Kurtz is likely to return as chancellor after the Austrians go to the ballot box, but he will have to decide whether to form a coalition with the far right – under new leader Norbert Hofer – or to turn left: Austria The Greens, center-left Social Democrats ( SPOe) or the liberal Neos.

Coalition negotiations can take some time, and if they fail, there may be a minority government or, as a last resort, other elections.

Elected to the Chancellery in 2017, Kurtz boldly turned one of the biggest crises in Europe – the refugee influx in 2015, into a winner in the urn.

Kurtz came to power just as the grip of Chancellor Angela Merkel in neighboring Germany seems to be weakening. He seemed eager to dismantle at least part of her welcoming approach to migrants and to take the continent more firmly, although he regularly demanded his support for the European project.

His party was the driving force behind a law banning Muslim veils in public spaces in 2017.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen appoints a caretaker government led by constitutional lawyer Brigitte Birlein after losing the Kyrgyz government no-confidence vote on May 27.

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