Poor Kurz: The Young Austrian Chancellor's Strategic Mistake

Sebastian Kurz made a strategic mistake when he expelled his party's partner, the populist Austrian Freedom Party, from the government. Thus, he was virtually left without a government, without a majority in parliament. He thought that the Social Democrats, the main opposition force, would not oppose him. However, they had an agreement with the right-wing populists and overthrew Kurz. This was a strategic mistake for the young Austrian Chancellor, said Alexander Rahr, scientific director of the German-Russian Forum.

However, as it often happens, especially in traditional, well-established democracies, in the next elections, if his conservative Austrian People's Party again nominates him as the main candidate for chancellor, he can become the head of government again.

The decision of the parliament was not a complete surprise. Arithmetic is everything there. Kurz lost the majority: only his party supported him; the right-wing nationalist party and the Social Democrats voted against him. I think for Kurz it did not matter much that he won not a grandiose, but a small victory, being elected to the European Parliament. This was a purely symbolic victory. The other parties didn't lose, either. These were European elections, which had no direct relationship to Austria. Intrigue has surrounded Kurz for a long time. The nationalist party was simply offended by the fact that he kicked them out of the government, so they voted against him. But the Social Democrats could not forgive him for the fact that in his time he had created a coalition government with the right, and not with them. Now they've got their revenge.

I think Austria will survive this. There is no economic crisis in the country. If there was an economic crisis, people would take to the streets. In the current situation, people sit at home and just watch what is happening on the screens of their TV sets. Nothing bad will happen in Austria. Let us recall the example of Germany, when elections were held there two years ago, and for six months it was impossible to form a viable government. Merkel tried to create a government with greens, with liberals - nothing happened. Only six months later, she managed to do something. Three months are left before the elections in Austria. During these three months, the country will be ruled by a so-called “government of experts”. In Austria, the elected president plays a large role. Alexander Van der Bellen is an active and capable president. He will now actively intervene in the domestic politics of the country and will try to stabilize the situation.

Now an election campaign is beginning again. Kurz needs to fight, fight and fight again. His most important task now is to ensure that his party nominates him again as a candidate for chancellor. And we cannot say for sure, that this will happen. Second, in Europe there is  party democracy. If his party wins the election, then Kurz will have a chance to return to power.

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