Austrian health minister resigns due to exhaustion

Austria's Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (The Greens) has resigned from his post and will be replaced by Wolfgang Mückstein, a physician. Anschober suffered a circulatory collapse for the second time a week ago, which he said was due to exhaustion. "I realised that I had to pull the emergency brake," said the 60-year-old. For commentators, the resignation sounds alarm bells.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Toxic online hatred

The worsening of the debate culture has made the work of prominent politicians considerably more difficult, says Der Standard:

“Rudolf Anschober has displayed strength with his departure: he has - purportedly - made an open show of weakness. ... Anschober has simply reached his limits, and the brutality that social media have magnified in all our dealings with each other has probably played a much greater role than the unfriendly acts of one politician towards another. When someone needs police protection because he is doing his best to fight the pandemic from within government, this also testifies to the debasement of what used to be a political or socio-political debate between different camps.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Hellish challenges take their toll

For the Süddeutsche Zeitung the resignation is noteworthy for two reasons:

“Anschober, who already had burnout years ago, is contributing with his honesty to taking away the stigma of illness and exhaustion in - or rather through - politics. Far too little is said about the hellish challenges of public office, and respect for the personal sacrifice is rare. In addition, the minister reported death threats; the rage of opponents of Covid policies is being unleashed on him. The crisis demands a lot from everyone, and Anschober has also made mistakes. But hatred instead of constructive criticism destroys people and ultimately society too.”