Austria’s Kurz says open to new government coalition with far right

(Photo by Instagram)

VIENNA (Reuters) – A new government coalition between his conservatives and the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) could be an option after snap elections in September, former Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in interviews on Tuesday.

Kurz’s coalition with the Freedom Party, launched in December 2017, imploded in May after FPO leader Heinz-Christian Strache was caught in a video sting apparently offering to fix state contracts at a meeting with a woman posing as a Russian oligarch’s niece.

Kurz tried to stay on as head of what was effectively a minority government but parliament dismissed him and his cabinet, saying he must share some of the blame for the scandal, since he brought the far-right back into power.

Since then, Austria has been led by a provisional government of civil servants ahead of a parliamentary election scheduled for September 29.

“Basically I do not rule out any coalition option,” Kurz told public broadcaster ORF.