Socialists Hint That Waldheim Should Resign
Chancellor Franz Vranitzky’s Socialist Party made a thinly veiled appeal for President Kurt Waldheim to resign today and proposed talks on a successor with its conservative coalition partners.
The move was a major blow to Waldheim, who has vowed to continue in office despite a historical commission’s finding this month that he facilitated Nazi war crimes.
“The current dreadful situation cannot continue,” Socialist Party leader Fred Sinowatz told a news conference to present a statement agreed on unanimously by the party leadership, including Vranitzky.
The statement said: “It is primarily up to the president to take a decision oriented toward the state interests of Austria and the preservation of domestic peace.
“The (Socialist Party) is prepared, jointly with the Austrian People’s Party, to seek the way to a new beginning in the office of the president.”
Although the People’s Party under Foreign Minister Alois Mock remains mostly loyal to the man it backed for the presidency, political analysts believe it could withdraw its support for Waldheim if the Socialist Party promises it priority in selecting a successor.