Features

Nationalist right crumbles in Austria

Austria’s vice-chancellor and Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache was forced to resign after promising state contracts for cash.

948-Heinz-Christian-Strache-634

Heinz-Christian Strache: promised contracts for cash

2018 Getty Images

A "lurid" video showing Austria's vice-chancellor and Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache "promising state contracts for cash" to a woman claiming to be a relative of a Russian oligarch has brought down the Austrian government, says Jonathan Tirone for Bloomberg. Strache was forced to resign. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also fired the interior minister, Herbert Kickl. That was a "bridge too far" for the rest of the Freedom Party (FPO), and its ministers resigned en masse. With the coalition between that party and Kurz's Austrian People's Party now over, Kurz has agreed to call fresh elections in September.

Ditching the far right may be a blessing in disguise for Kurz, however, says Valerie Hopkins in the FT. Even before the coalition was formed, the FPO earned intense criticism for signing a co-operation agreement with Vladimir Putin's United Russia party. Despite this, the FPO was given control of all three of Austria's intelligence services, prompting the agencies of other Western countries to limit their co-operation with Austria.

Kurz may now strengthen his party's position in a new election if he can win over disgruntled Freedom Party voters, says Matthew Karnitschnig for Politico. By contrast, Europe's far-right parties are likely to face "uncomfortable questions" on the eve of the European elections about their own relationships with "unsavoury Russian actors", as they have generally pursued "a similarly Russia-friendly strategy" to the FPO. At the very least, the other far-right parties are likely to try to distance themselves from the Austrians, complicating efforts to unite Europe's far-right parties into a new political alliance.

Recommended

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Just how green is nuclear power?
Energy

Just how green is nuclear power?

Nuclear power is certainly very clean in terms of carbon emissions, but what about the radioactive waste produced as a byproduct? It’s not as much of …
22 Jan 2022
Inflation: now we really have something to worry about
Inflation

Inflation: now we really have something to worry about

We’ve been worrying about a sharp rise in inflation for years, says Merryn Somerset Webb – now, we finally have something to worry about.
21 Jan 2022
Amazon halts plans to ban UK Visa credit card payments
Personal finance

Amazon halts plans to ban UK Visa credit card payments

Amazon has said that it is to shelve its proposed ban on UK customers making payments with Visa credit cards.
17 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now
Share tips

Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now

Professional investor Fay Ren of the Cerno Pacific Fund highlights three of her favourite Asian stocks to buy now
24 Jan 2022
Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is
Inflation

Ask for a pay rise – everyone else is

As inflation bites and the labour market remains tight, many of the nation's employees are asking for a pay rise. Merryn Somerset Webb explains why yo…
17 Jan 2022