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Austria's FPO would back no-confidence vote in Kurz, minister says

Reuters , Tuesday 21 May 2019
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Austria's far-right interior minister, Herbert Kickl, has said his under-fire Freedom Party (FPO) would support a vote of no confidence in the conservative chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.

A small opposition party has said it will propose such a vote and Kickl, whom Kurz is seeking to have sacked, told Tuesday's edition of the mass-circulation newspaper Oesterreich that if this happened, the FPO would back it.

Kurz has already called time on the ruling coalition and called an election for September after a video sting brought down longtime FPO leader and vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache at the weekend.

But his government is limping along for now, in effect in a caretaker role. To lose a vote of no confidence might dent the image of the youthful chancellor, who has sought to capitalise on a crisis as it boosts his People's Party's poll ratings.

"It would be almost naive for Kurz to assume that we, the FPO, have no distrust of him following his distrust in us," Oesterreich quoted Kickl as saying. "Whenever the extraordinary session happens, those who give trust receive trust and those who give distrust get distrust."

The FPO has said it will vacate its ministerial posts if Kickl, a mastermind of its rise to power and author of a hardline immigration policy, is forced out. However, new FPO leader Norbert Hofer has been more guarded than Kickl on support for a no-confidence vote.

Strache was filmed in the apparent sting operation offering to fix state contracts for a woman posing as a Russian oligarch's niece.

A poll published on Monday had support for the FPO declining by 5 points to 18% while Kurz's conservatives rose 4 points to 38%. 

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