Austrian government ousted by no-confidence vote

Ten days after the Ibiza video was made public the Austrian parliament has toppled Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's government with a no-confidence vote. The Social Democrats had put forward the motion, which was supported by the FPÖ. President Van der Bellen will now appoint a caretaker government. Who benefits from Kurz's fall?

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Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Moment of glory for democracy

Deutschlandfunk welcomes the chancellor's deposition:

“The Austrians would have had nothing against going on with 'business as usual', according to the opinion polls. Kurz is popular. But his colleagues didn't want to let him emerge from the ruckus-government without a scratch. Austria's time-honoured political model - stability at all costs, bought with grand coalitions and back-room deals - has had its day. The vote of no confidence against Kurz is at the same time a moment of glory for Austrian democracy. The parties are still alive, and they have stood up to a callous arithmetician of power. That is the good news of the day.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Opposition only harming itself

The SPÖ and FPÖ have shot themselves in the foot by deposing Chancellor Kurz, Der Standard admonishes:

“Is this vote clever from a long-term perspective? For the SPÖ to block the way - at least under its current leadership - for a coalition after the elections? For the FPÖ to reject the prospect of a new coalition with the ÖVP? Even after the elections there will be a need for a new coalition. [SPÖ leader] Rendi-Wagner and Hofer/Kickl [FPÖ] are burning these bridges for the ÖVP. While we recognise the need for party tactics, this is not the time. The Ibiza video has shown people how recklessly willing some politicians were to betray the nation's interests. The least one can do now is to credibly attempt to re-establish the people's trust in politics.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Triumph in defeat

Austria's fallen chancellor can celebrate a victory in the midst of his defeat, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung observes:

“The paradoxical situation has arisen that despite the early and inglorious end of this government he could only win. If the no-confidence vote had failed, the opposition would have disgraced itself and Kurz would have been able to lead an election campaign as chancellor until the snap election in September - with all the extra appeal and resources the office confers. Now he has been forced into the role of martyr. But he's already shown in the last few days how he can play this role to perfection. He has constantly repeated that an irresponsible red-blue [SPÖ-FPÖ] will plunge the country into instability for party-political reasons. This line of argument will no doubt go down well with voters.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Voters reward the scandal

The daily Lidové noviny looks at why the party of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz triumphed in the European elections despite the profound crisis in his government:

“In the aftermath of a political earthquake like that in Austria one would normally expect the voters to punish the government, whether or not its leader is to blame. But the opposite occurred in the EU elections. ... Where's the logic here? Perhaps the voters already have a clear opinion on Kurz's reform government and its achievements. Or perhaps in Austria it's less about logic than emotions. ... You can actually be rewarded for a scandal there. And what's more, there are still certain things that aren't determined by algorithms.”