Snap elections called in Austria after corruption scandal

Sebastian Kurz, Chancellor of Austria, has called for fresh elections after Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resigned following a corruption scandal.

Strache, leader of the far-right Freedom Party, was caught in secret video footage discussing government contracts with an alleged Russian investor.

The ‘investor’ said she was interested in taking control of one of the country’s tabloid newspapers, to which Strache replied that the paper could help in the far-right party’s election campaign due to recent staff changes.

He added that, should the party win, the investor could then get access to public contracts.

Strache insisted that he had not done anything illegal and that this was an attempt to bring down the government, but admitted his behaviour was “stupid, irresponsible and a mistake”.

Kurz has asked the Austrian President for a fresh election, after withdrawing the far-right party from the government. “I said I would always do what is right and what is necessary,” he said.

The election is likely to take place in late September, to coincide with state elections in Vorarlberg.

Kurz’s decision to call an election will likely benefit his party, the Austrian People’s Party, which have benefited from an increase in support since coming to power.

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