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Noble and new ÖVP with atomic bomb scandal: This is Kurz 'Chancellor successor Schallenberg


Austria has a new chancellor. Alexander Schallenberg is considered a brief confidante - aristocratic, but only recently in the ÖVP. His biography gives indications of the political future.

Austria has a new chancellor.

Alexander Schallenberg is considered a brief confidante - aristocratic, but only recently in the ÖVP.

His biography gives indications of the political future.

  • Alexander Schallenberg is the successor to Austria's overthrown Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

  • The foreign expert from a noble family is considered a born diplomat - but he only joined the ÖVP late.

  • He got into the Chancellery rather surprisingly.

    It is considered a placeholder for short.

    However, it is unclear whether he will return.

    And Schallenberg has already seen a few political upsets.

Vienna - On Monday, Sebastian Kurz experienced something for the second time at the age of 35 that Helmut Kohl had to wait for a good 16 years - or rather: was allowed to.

A chancellor successor to the ÖVP boss is sworn in in Vienna.

For the second time since 2019. A fluctuation frequency that speaks more for “sloppy conditions”.

A good two years ago, shortly after his ÖVP-FPÖ coalition collapsed, the lawyer Brigitte Bierlein became the head of the interim government.

Now he sees a close confidante moving into the Federal Chancellery: his former colleague, advisor and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Schallenberg's chancellorship does not have a clear expiry date - apart from the regular new elections in 2024. Nevertheless, it seems possible that the term of office of the diplomat's son will only remain an intermezzo.

Especially with a view to his political biography.

Alexander Schallenberg: "Surprise for all of us" - short confidante new in the Chancellery

Schallenberg himself, he made no secret of it, was rather unprepared for the leap to the top of Austria's political leadership. “A surprise for all of us,” he said on the way to the preliminary meeting with Federal President Alexander van der Bellen. It is also rumored that the 52-year-old found out about the promotion in his own bed. At around 3 a.m. on Saturday night (October 9), Schallenberg was brought out of sleep - with the question of whether he dared to lead the country, writes

Der Spiegel

. The answer was short: "Yes."

Schallenberg is now the sixteenth chancellor of the “second” Austrian republic. A great office. Although, unlike in Germany, there have recently been no major chancellor eras in the Alpine republic. Angela Merkel alone experienced ten (!) (Interim) chancellors in the neighboring country.

Schallenberg certainly did not

fight for


. He is considered to be a loyal follower of Kurz - and a man who was born with a diplomatic career. He had also begun his professional career on the foreign policy parquet. Then promotion followed promotion.

In terms of party politics, Schallenberg is more of a lateral entrant - but fits in with a general trend in Austria.

SPÖ predecessor Sebastian Kern, for example, switched almost directly from the ÖBB state railway to the Chancellery.

The incumbent SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner also only joined the party in 2017 shortly before her appointment as minister.

In the Alpine republic, the clocks tick a little differently.

  • Austria's Chancellor since 2005:

  • Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP)

    - 2/00 - 01/07

  • Alfred Gusenbauer (SPÖ)

    - 01/07 - 12/08

  • Werner Faymann (SPÖ)

    - 12/08 - 05/16

  • Reinhold Mitterlehner (ÖVP)

    - 05/16 (Interims)

  • Christian Kern (SPÖ)

    - 05/16 - 12/17

  • Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP)

    - 12/17 - 05/19

  • Hartwig Löger (ÖVP)

    - 05/19 - 06/19 (interim)

  • Brigitte Bierlein (independent)

    - 06/19 - 01/20

  • Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP)

    - 01/20 - 10/21

  • Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP)

    - from 10/21

The fact is: Schallenberg's father was already a diplomat.

Son Alexander was born in Bern and grew up in India, Spain and France.

The French phrases that he sometimes uses in conversation reinforce the impression of an old-school diplomat.

Observer also reads in the coloring of his German: The special coloring of his language reveals Schallenberg's descent from the former Austrian nobility, who also stood out from the rest of the population by their tone of voice.

The family of the new chancellor has its roots in the Upper Austrian Mühlviertel - and is named after a castle that has long since fallen into disrepair.

Short successor Alexander Schallenberg: son of a diplomat as a "man of conviction"

After studying law, Schallenberg soon got into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2000 he became head of the legal department at the Brussels representation of Austria, in 2005 press spokesman in the external department, and from 2009 also head of the department. Sebastian Kurz joined the ministry in 2013, and their career paths were linked: The young ÖVP shooting star made Schallenberg, who was actually on the way to the ambassadorial post in Delhi, head of the “Strategy and Political Planning” staff unit Chancellery.

Of course, Schallenberg made the leap to Foreign Minister under Kurz's “Ibiza Representation” Bierlein.

However, he was then the only representative from Bierlein’s cabinet who was allowed to keep his post in Sebastian Kurz’s second cabinet.

No wonder: Because the much older Schallenberg represents the line of the ÖVP boss almost without exception and in sometimes harsh words - especially when it comes to his restrictive stance on migration.


Alexander Schallenberg (left) at a press conference before a meeting with Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

© Bernd von Jutrczenka / dpa

When the co-governing Greens demanded the admission of refugees from the burned down camp on the Greek island of Lesbos last year, Schallenberg said: “The shouting for distribution cannot be the solution”. In the summer of 2021, he said that local employees from EU representations in Afghanistan should be evacuated to neighboring countries rather than Europe. That caused some criticism in Austria. In these contexts, Schallenberg described himself as a “man of conviction”.

However, Schallenberg also has a few views that do not fit into the German image of a conservative foreign policy: For example, the ÖVP politician wants to include the Western Balkans in the EU.

From a clear calculation, however.

Schallenberg wants to curb the influence of China and Russia in the east of the confederation.

Kurz seemed a little less enthusiastic in this field.

Sebastian Kurz: Schallenberg as a placeholder for Putin castling?

New Chancellor delivered atom bomb scandal

Even from Schallenberg's most recent remarks, however, a sense of duty rather than a great willingness to create seemed to speak more of a sense of duty. "It is an enormously challenging task and time," he said after the Chancellor's plans became known. "Not easy - for none of us, but I think we show an unbelievable degree of responsibility for this country." With that, Schallenberg probably fits into the requirements profile of Kurz, who ultimately wants to remain the strong man in the ÖVP Chancellor party. His plan to take over the chairmanship of the ÖVP as well as the parliamentary group speaks a clear language - Kurz wanted to do “Putin”, it was said on Sunday. Schallenberg is also unlikely to shame Austria on the foreign policy parquet.

It remains to be seen whether the diplomat's son has what it takes to lead the ÖVP into a new election.

For that he would have to gain more profile.

But without repeating slip-ups.

For example, a video from the Foreign Ministry caused a stir earlier this year.

The three-dimensional pictures showed the hypothetical consequences of a nuclear weapon drop in Vienna - Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) reacted not amused, others with sarcasm, as the


reported: An artist group countered with a clip about the devastating effects of a possible Godzilla attack Austria's capital.

Schallenberg: Only since 2020 in short 'ÖVP - and divorced father of four children

Another "problem": Schallenberg only joined the ÖVP in 2020. So he is evidently Kurz rather than committed to the party. His positioning as a “turquoise man with conviction” also fits in with this - after all, the ÖVP has only been “turquoise” for a short time. This becomes tricky when Kurz can no longer make the leap into the Chancellery, as the

Neue Zürcher Zeitung has

already oracle with a view to possibly years of investigations and rejection in the other parliamentary groups. Then, after an election failure, the ÖVP could flourish a painfully complex search for a successor for a weak intermediate candidate. Feelings that are currently well known to German conservatives.

After all: Schallenberg - or "Schalli" as the allegedly sociable politician and passionate smoker is called according to the Austrian media - would by no means be left with nothing after a political end.

The now divorced son of a diplomat from a noble family has four offspring.

He already referred to them in a political context: “The children from Moria touch me just like everyone else,” he explained to the magazine


in September 2020. After all, he has children of his own.


fn with material from dpa


Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-10-11

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