What happens if Austria’s chancellor is voted out?
DW: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is set to face a no-confidence vote in parliament on Monday. What happens if he loses?
Thomas Hofer: In that case, it would spell the end of this government. For the time being, it would also be the end of his chancellorship. Austria’s president would have to appoint a policy expert or an official who would form a government and take on the chancellor’s official functions. This person would remain in office until a new government comes together after the snap election in September.
This has never before happened in Austria; it would be a political crisis. At the moment, there’s a strategic tug-of-war going on in the background, with pressure on the center-left Social Democrats (SPÖ) not to allow this no-confidence vote.
All cabinet ministers belonging to the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) have left the coalition government after Interior Minister Herbert Kickl was forced to step down in the wake of the Ibiza video scandal. An interim cabinet will be expected to step in until the election in September. But how much authority does such a cabinet actually have?
Kurz has planned to stay in office, along with the ministers from his own conservative People’s Party (ÖVP), and fill the vacant positions with policy experts and civil servants until September. They’re unlikely to pass any major legislation during that period. Austria has little experience with minority governments — and without cooperation from the Freedom Party, which has been kicked out of government, they’re not going to get much done.