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Austrian President swears in government led by Chancellor Kurz

Transitional government led by Brigitte Bierlein relieved of office

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen swore in a new coalition government of the republic on Tuesday composed of the conservative Austrian People's Party (ANP) and the Green Party. ANP leader Sebastian Kurz became Austrian chancellor, while Greens leader Werner Kogler became vice-chancellor and minister of culture, arts, public service and sports.

At the same time, the Austrian head of state relieved the transitional government headed by the country's first female chancellor, Brigitte Bierlein. It was replaced by Austria's first ever cabinet with the participation of the ANP and the Greens.

For most of the modern history of the republic, the government in Austria has been formed by the two political forces as senior and junior coalition partners, because no party since the end of World War II has yet been able to win an overwhelming majority in elections to form a cabinet alone.

Ministerial portfolios
Ten ANP ministers and four Greens ministers are represented in the new government.

From the ANP, Alexander Schallenberg (non-partisan) became minister of foreign affairs, Karl Nehammer became minister of the interior, Claudia Tanner became minister of defense, Gernot Blumel became minister of finance, Margarete Schramböck became minister of economy, Elisabeth Köstinger became minister of sustainable development and tourism, and Heinz Bauer became minister of education, Heinz Fassmann (non-party) as Minister for Science and Research, Christine Aschbacher as Minister (no portfolio) for Labor, Caroline Edtstadler as Minister (no portfolio) for European Affairs under the Federal Chancellor, and Susanne Raab as Minister (no portfolio) for Integration Issues under the Federal Chancellor.

The Greens headed Leonore Gewessler as Minister of the Environment, Transport, Infrastructure and Technology, Alma Zaditsch as Minister of Justice, and Rudy Anschober as Minister of Social Affairs, Consumer Protection and Health.

In addition to the ministers, the government included two state secretaries from each party: Magnus Brunner from the ANP in the Ministry of the Environment and Ulrike Lunacek from the Greens in the Vice-Chancellor's Office.

Youngest leader in Europe
Kurz has taken up the post of Chancellor of Austria for the second time. Thus, the 33-year-old Austrian was once again the youngest head of government in the European Union.

In 2017, 31-year-old Kurz became for the first time the youngest head of government in the world. Before that, in 2013, at the age of 27, he became the youngest foreign minister in Austrian history. Notably, Kurtz has no completed higher education - he interrupted his studies at the University of Vienna for a political career several years ago.

In May 2019, the Kurtz government resigned due to a vote of no confidence in parliament amid the "Ibiza Gate" domestic political scandal involving former Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache. Since December 2019, Finland's Sanna Marin, 34, had briefly been the youngest European prime minister.

Election outcome.
Early elections for the Austrian National Council (the lower house of parliament) were held on September 29, 2019. The main election winners were the ANP with 37.5% of the vote and the Green Party with 13.9% of the vote, which was able to return to parliament after a two-year hiatus.

In early October 2019, Kurz received a mandate from the president of Austria to form a new government of the republic after the ANP's landslide victory in the parliamentary elections.

On January 1, 2020, Kurz announced that his party had agreed with the Greens to form a joint Austrian cabinet. The political forces had been in coalition talks since Nov. 11.

"Ibizagate."
A domestic political scandal called "Ibizagate" erupted in Austria in May 2019. German publications Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung circulated a short excerpt of a 2017 video of the Austrian Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache on Balkan and his aide Johann Gudenus. In the hidden-camera footage, they discussed with a Russian-speaking woman, posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch, the possibility of giving her easier access to construction contracts in Austria in exchange for financial support from the Austrian Freedom Party (APS) before the parliamentary elections.

The publication of the video (two years after those events) led to Strache's resignation as leader of the APS and Austrian Vice Chancellor, which he became after the 2017 elections. The APS left the government coalition with the ANP. The cabinet, led by Chancellor Kurz, resigned after a vote of no confidence in parliament. This led to early parliamentary elections in September. Brigitte Bierlein was appointed chancellor of the technical government.