Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
And Strache has resigned. Norbert Hofer takes over. If this is all then not a particularly great outcome, Hofer was always the smarter one. We'll see what the chancellor will say. Continuing the coalition opens up a lot of loot. Conversely you could save the Republic™ and then get more of the loot if the elections work out.
by generic on Sat May 18th, 2019 at 10:41:19 AM EST
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The chancellor is still in hiding, apparently.
by generic on Sat May 18th, 2019 at 03:01:42 PM EST
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He's back with an appropriate dose of faux outrage.
Austria chancellor calls for snap election after corruption scandal - BBC
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has asked for a snap election after his Vice-Chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, resigned over a corruption scandal.

Mr Kurz's centre-right People's Party is in government with Mr Strache's far-right Freedom Party.

The Freedom Party leader stepped down after secret video footage emerged.

The video appears to show him discussing government contracts with an alleged Russian investor.

Mr Strache blamed his actions on alcohol and acting like a "teenager", saying his behaviour had been "stupid" and "irresponsible", and that he was leaving to avoid further damage to the government.

"I have suggested to the president of the republic that new elections be carried out, at the earliest possible date," Mr Kurz said.

"After yesterday's video, I must say quite honestly: Enough is enough," he said.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 08:26:57 AM EST
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Until this episode, the conventional wisdom (well, Politico.eu) was presenting Kurz as the Wunderkind of European "center-right" politics, the epitome of "generational change" (Kurz is 31).

And many EPP parties across Europe have been looking at his coalition with the extreme right, a move that may become inevitable, despite all claims to the contrary: between loosing power and allying with fascists, they are not going to drop power.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 08:36:06 AM EST
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Kurz is was 31 when he formed the coalition. It's pretty funny, really. All the paid opinion havers on the TV tell me he has a great political talent and great message discipline. But in practice that just means he sticks to his prepared talking points and doesn't engage with questions, similar to Maybot3000. That's also the most likely reason that he hid out for close to two days. Had to practice the speach. Although rumor(from FPÖ sources) has it that he initially wanted to grab the interior ministry and keep going.

In his speech he plainly states that there is no political convergence with the SocDems, he was a victim of (former SPÖ campaign manager) Siberstein like campaigning and he had been very happy with the coalition. Apparently he just didn't notice that they were working at the Orbanisation of the Austrian media landscape? Yet it seems the state broadcaster did notice, they were incredibly careful in not putting any blame at the Kurz's doorstep. There was one truly bizarre episode when their domestic policy chief wanted to detect increasing anger and aggression in the crowd that reminded him of the time the first far-right government had to sneak into the Hofburg through a tunnel. His younger colleague only found a "party mood", the police guy had "no incidence" and all the while he was talking you could see a little kid sitting on someone's shoulders right behind him in the crowd, but what do they know.
True to form in Russian election interference scandals we are again mainly looking at some idiots getting scammed by fake oligarchs.
And talking about election interference: In a curious coincidence, their "very good Israeli friends" arrested Silberstein right in the hot phase of the last election.

by generic on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 11:41:54 AM EST
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A few additional things I, or possible a random Twitter user, picked up:
They were handing out infrastructure projects well in advance to formal coalition talks. Just like they knew they'd get the ministry after the election.
Austria's oligarchy can't be happy of getting named in connection with illegal party financing.
The Kronenzeitung will probably stop pushing the FPÖ for a bit, but I think they have been on the Kurz train for  a while anyway.
This will probably turn out pretty expensive for the republic, also very on brand for the far-right. Haselsteiner, the oligarch behind the NEOS party and the one Strache wanted to explicitly cut out of infrastructure contracts will have an easy case.
The SPÖ still seems very unprepared for elections.

by generic on Sun May 19th, 2019 at 12:48:31 PM EST
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Austrian Chancellor Kurz ousted in no-confidence vote
A new election is already planned for September, and President Alexander Van der Bellen now needs to appoint a caretaker government to serve until then.
Kurz loses the advantage of campaigning as an incumbent chancellor but remains popular and his center-right party finished first Sunday in Austria in the European Parliament election with 34.9% support, a gain of almost 8 percentage points over 2014.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon May 27th, 2019 at 04:35:32 PM EST
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And the large majority of print journalists is pretty mad at the Socialists for it. Entirely unrelated there is a noteable tendency for the necessity for full page ministrial information to arise in the runup to elections. Supposedly the "expert government" will have more trust in the voters abilies.
by generic on Mon May 27th, 2019 at 09:01:14 PM EST
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I didn't find a good source, but the number for government inserts seems to total around 24 million a year. The legal limit that a party can spend on an election is 7 million. Though there really aren't any consequences except a minor fine. The conservatives officially spent twice that on the last general.
by generic on Tue May 28th, 2019 at 12:01:56 PM EST
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[US] Lawmakers PROBE Russia's Ramped-Up Threats to Democracy [in AUSTRIA]
After viewing footage of [STRACHE'S] meeting Tuesday, House lawmakers heard testimony from four experts about steps the United States can take to deter Russian meddling [in USA]
[Penn Biden Sr. Director Michael] Carpenter also noted that the notion of media bias is one that Russia trumpets.

"So when the [U.S.] president calls the media `the enemy of the people,' he is playing into Putin's narrative," Carpenter said. "That is exactly what Russia wants."
"Look at Hungary," [MA-9 Rep. Bill] Keating said. "Hungary has now allowed [Russia's] International Investment Bank to build its new headquarters in Budapest and its bank chairman has ties to Putin."
Heather Conley, senior vice president for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, testified that Russia's objective to destabilize democracy relies on a messaging to "deepen disgust, create doubt and change how [Americans] think of themselves."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 09:11:47 PM EST
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ECJ Rebukes Hungary for 2014 Land-Use Cancellations
Hungary adopted the scheme back in 2013, saying that only people with a close family tie to agricultural land in the nation were entitled to property-use rights, which are otherwise known as usufruct. In October 2014, about five months after Hungary had canceled the land-use rights of nationals of outside member states, the European Commission warned the government that it was infringing the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Insisting that the commission could not show discrimination, Hungary pointed out that only 5,058 of the more than 100,000 people affected by the scheme were nationals of other countries including third states.
"That exception takes into account the fact that parents frequently buy property for their children over which they create a right of usufruct for themselves and the fact that a surviving spouse often inherits such a right," Hungary argued, as summarized in the ruling Tuesday.

Rejecting the country's submissions, however, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice ruled Tuesday that "the restrictions on the free movement of capital thus arising from the deprivation of property acquired using capital protected by Article 63 TFEU cannot be justified."

2010 a
share or dispose of ownership or usufruct in any conceivable contractual manner ...
2010 b
Not. A. Trivial. Distinction. "Interest" and "ownership interest" ...
2010 c
 in Principle - there are two conflicting claims over productive assets in the form of ...
A word here to shed light on the relationship between law (droit) and jouissance. 'Usufruct' --that's a legal notion, isn't it? ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue May 21st, 2019 at 10:45:22 PM EST
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