Austrian president calls for September snap elections

20 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

VIENNA: Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said Sunday he wanted snap elections to take place in September after the government collapsed over a corruption scandal, reports AFP.

“My preference is for early elections in September, if possible the beginning of September,” he told journalists after holding talks with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

The legal procedures to fix the date will now have to take place over the coming weeks, with Van der Bellen set to hold further talks with other party leaders.

The announcement came after a dramatic 48 hours in Austrian politics which saw far-right Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resign in disgrace following explosive revelations in a hidden camera sting.

On Friday, two German newspapers published footage showing Strache openly discussing the possibility of awarding public contracts in return for campaign help for his far-right Freedom Party (FPOe).

Speaking alongside Van der Bellen, Kurz said that early elections had not been “desirable, but were necessary”, and that he would also try to establish who exactly was behind the recording of the footage.