New Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says coalition on thin ice

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New Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says coalition on thin ice

Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a media statement with Austria's Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg at the European Commission President meeting on 14 October 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. ZURICH, Oct 16 - Reuters - Newly installed Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the country's ruling coalition is on thin ice but could still work together after his successor Alexander Schallenberg quit last week.

Kurz stepped down a week ago at the request of his junior coalition partner, the Greens, after prosecutors placed him and nine others under investigation on suspicion of breach of trust, corruption and bribery.

Schallenberg, also a member of Kurz's conservative OVP Party, launched a media blitz over the weekend, giving interviews to 13 papers and saying he wanted to restore the shattered trust between the OVP and the Greens and to continue to govern until the next general election, due by 2024.

Kurz, who denies wrongdoing, remains the leader of his conservative OVP party and is also its top lawmaker in parliament. Opponents have indicated he will continue to control policy from those positions.

The Cooperation coalition will work on the long term only if we rebuild basic trust, Schallenberg told Der Standard and Kleine Zeitung. It has to be assumed that everything will not go smoothly, because there will be other voices as well.

If you're big and one player agrees, it can work out. We have a substantial government program. We are all on thin ice. This must be clear to all of us. The former Foreign Secretary, who was sworn in as chancellor on Monday, proposed a private get-together for the entire government where he would act as a mediator to get into calmer waters, he told Salzburger Nachrichten.

Still there remained wounds between OVP and the Greens, he told Kronen Zeitung, and rebuilding trust would not happen overnight.

Kurz said there was no agreement with Schallenberg to stand aside after the inquiry is concluded.

Schallenberg will hold this office until the next election of national council, wrote Wiener Zeitung.

Asked who had the last word on policy, himself or Kurz, Schallenberg said he had been sworn in as chancellor and will carry out his duties.

In the next election Schallenberg said he believed Kurz would be the party's principal candidate, but still had not declared himself sincerum as president.

Wie does Schallenberg say in Wiener Zeitung? I came to the chancellery in an emergency. My goal is to bring stability back.