Advertisement
Share

Former Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz, 35, says he’s quitting politics

Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz
Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announces Thursday that he is quitting politics.
(Lisa Leutner / Associated Press)

Austria’s former chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, said Thursday that he is quitting politics, two months after stepping down as leader amid corruption allegations.

Kurz said the recent birth of his first child had motivated him to take the step.

The 35-year-old said he had always done his best to “move our beautiful Austria a little bit in the right direction,” but acknowledged having made some mistakes during his 10-year career.

Advertisement

“I’m neither a saint, nor a criminal. I’m a human being with strengths and weaknesses,” Kurz told reporters in Vienna, adding that he looked forward to defending himself against the corruption allegations in court

The 10-day lockdown comes as average daily deaths have tripled in recent weeks and some hospitals have warned that their intensive care units are reaching capacity.

Kurz resigned as chancellor in October after Austrian prosecutors announced that he was one of the targets of an investigation into suspected bribery and breach of trust. Kurz’s junior coalition partners, the Greens, had demanded that he be replaced.

He was succeeded as chancellor by Alexander Schallenberg, the former foreign minister.

Kurz and his close associates are accused of trying to secure his rise to the leadership of his party and the country with the help of manipulated polls and friendly media reports financed with public money. Kurz became the leader of the conservative Austrian People’s Party and then chancellor in 2017. Then 31, he was the world’s youngest democratically elected head of government.

Austrian media reported that Interior Minister Karl Nehammer could replace Kurz as head of the Austrian People’s Party and possibly succeed Schallenberg as chancellor.


Advertisement