Austrian President Van der Bellen deplores tone of disrespect against state institutions

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Because of the accusations against Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen sees the government’s ability to act in question. The chancellor sees things differently – and wants to remain in office.

Austria’s Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen has reminded the parties of their responsibility in terms of state policy in the current government crisis. “In this phase, it is important that all acting persons think first and foremost of the good of Austria,” Van der Bellen said in a televised speech on Friday. “Party interests must be put aside. Austria cannot afford egoisms now,” he added.

“A government crisis, but certainly not a state crisis”.
At present, the government’s ability to act is “in question,” Van der Bellen said, referring to the corruption investigations targeting, among others, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP). But the rule of law and the separation of powers in Austria are intact, he said. “What we are seeing here is at best a government crisis, but certainly not a state crisis,” Van der Bellen said.

The presumption of innocence applies to all suspects, the president said, referring to the investigations against Kurz and other suspects. At the same time, he spoke of a “moral image that is not good for democracy.” He deplored a “tone of disrespect” toward individuals and state institutions – “both in individual chats and in current statements.” Van der Bellen further stressed, “I have other expectations of the behavior of politically responsible people.”

  • hp, source, statement of the President aired via orf, 08.10.2021/picture: screenshot, orf.at
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