Sebastian Kurz, who retired from his post as Chancellor of Austria about two months ago after an investigation was opened against him on suspicion of using public funds to gain sympathetic media coverage, announced yesterday his complete resignation from politics. Kurz, 35 years old who four years ago became the youngest prime minister in the history of Austria and the European Union, was a great friend of Israel, greatly tightened relations between the two countries in many areas, acted against anti-Israel decisions in the EU and UN institutions, was close He was very supportive of the Austrian Jewish community and initiated the construction of a "monument of names" commemorating all the Jews of Austria who were murdered in the Holocaust, which was inaugurated earlier this month. Kurtz also had a very close relationship with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which became even tighter in the early stages of the Corona crisis.
Kurtz, who claims that the charges against him are completely unfounded and promises to clear his name, continued to serve after his resignation as chancellor as head of the Conservative People's Party and head of his faction in the Austrian parliament and that his resignation is only temporary. The main reason for his decision now to retire from these positions as well is the birth of his first child last Saturday. "The last few weeks have not been easy," Kurtz said at a brief press conference in Vienna. However, Kurtz also made it clear that his decision to retire from politics was related to the consequences of the ongoing investigation against him: "I did my job with 100% enthusiasm and joy. But in recent weeks the enthusiasm has diminished. My perception was that politics is a competition between the best ideas. But, for me politics has recently become accusations and investigations. I know from foreign prime ministers that this is something that has become normal, but it consumes energy and lowers the flame of my enthusiasm. '
Kurtz made it clear that he was "not a saint, nor a criminal, [but] a man of weaknesses and virtues," adding: "I do not want to claim that I did not make mistakes." However, he noted that he is waiting for the day when he will be able to prove in court that all the charges against him are untrue. Kurtz, who was appointed to government positions on behalf of the Conservative government at the age of 24, served as Secretary of State as Foreign Minister and Chancellor, acknowledged the right to serve his country and expressed hope that he had succeeded in getting Austria on the right path in his various positions. He stressed that he never hid his views, at all on the issue of stopping immigration to Austria, and hinted that these views caused him and his staff to suffer political persecution and face daily criticism. Kurtz emphasized in his speech that dealing with Austria's past during the Holocaust and an effort to improve relations with Israel were among the main issues at the heart of his activity as Chancellor.
Kurtz's place at the head of the People's Party will be taken by the current interior minister, Karl Nahmer, 49, who will most likely be appointed as the new chancellor in place of Kurtz's successor, Alexander Schalenberg.
Shalenberg, after a very short tenure of seven weeks will return to be foreign minister.
The Conservatives' coalition partner, the Greens, has agreed to a male change of prime minister, which will prevent new elections.
Opposition parties, however, have called for a halt to the "political puppet theater" and for new elections so that the people can decide who should head the government.
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