Austria's Kurz upbeat on September elections

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-08 18:48:09|Editor: Wu Qin
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VIENNA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is upbeat about heading into early federal elections in September, despite having had his previous coalition government brought down by a corruption scandal.

In a televised interview on Wednesday, Kurz acknowledged that the scandal involving former coalition partner the Freedom Party (FPO) "deeply shook" not only himself but many people in Austria.

It occurred when video footage emerged of FPO leader and former Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache purportedly offering government contracts in exchange for political favor.

This set off a chain of events that led to the entire government collapsing, replaced by a caretaker cabinet until the next elections.

Despite this, he said one must not be pessimistic about everything.

He said the "Ibiza video," given this moniker due to where it was filmed, did, however, end cooperation between the FPO and his own centre-right People's Party (OVP).

While speculation continues about who will form the next coalition government, Kurz has not ruled out a return to an OVP-FPO alliance, though not without conditions.

He said he would not like to see former Interior Minister Herbert Kickl back in cabinet, as he believes the FPO stalwart lacks a certain sensibility for a senior role in office, particularly in the aftermath of the Ibiza scandal. In addition, he pointed out that President Alexander Van der Bellen has commented that he would not swear Kickl in as minister again.

He said he sees talk of a coalition between the FPO and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPO) as a threat to his party's chances in September, though recent polls indicate an alliance between those two parties would not yield a required majority, with both lagging significantly behind Kurz's OVP.