Austrian vice-chancellor resigns after release of secret video

Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache has been called to resign after footage surfaced of him purportedly discussing state contracts with a potential Russian backer in return for political support. PHOTO: Reuters (Photo Source: Strait Times)
Austrian Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache has been called to resign after footage surfaced of him purportedly discussing state contracts with a potential Russian backer in return for political support. PHOTO: Reuters (Photo Source: Strait Times)

Austrian vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, on Saturday resigned following the release of a secret video in which he is seen appearing to offer government contracts in exchange for political support.

The far-right leader said he offered his resignation to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in order to prevent the collapse of the governing coalition between Kurz’s conservative People’s Party and his far-right Freedom Party (FPOe).

Although he insisted he did not break any law, Mr Strache admitted to the “extremely embarrassing, drunken affair,” which saw him appearing to offer infrastructure contracts to a woman posing as a wealthy potential donor from Russia while in Ibiza in July 2017.

Mr Strache also apologised to his wife and his supporters for what he called “alcohol-fuelled macho behaviour partly intended to impress the attractive woman” posing as a would-be donor during the six-hour encounter.

“I behaved like a teenager,” he said.

It is unclear who set up the apparent trap and who recorded the meeting.

Mr Strache blamed “criminal networks,”. He said the incident had been a “targeted political attack” on Austria’s right-wing government.

(dpa/NAN)

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