Stephanie Liechtenstein

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One big thing is clear after Sunday’s snap election in Austria: Sebastian Kurz not only survived a scandal but also seems back on top of his game.

The former Austrian chancellor scored a clear election victory only four months after a video sting ended his coalition with the far right. His conservative People’s Party exceeded poll estimates and won 37.5 percent of the vote.

The Social Democrats took 21.2 percent — the party’s worst-ever result since 1945. The far-right Freedom Party suffered a sharp blow and received 16.2 percent of the vote, down from 26 percent in the 2017 election.

Who polled particularly well in Saturday’s election?…  Seguir leyendo »

Austrians spent the week reeling from last Friday’s bombshell — in a secretly filmed video, Deputy Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), discussed trading government contracts for campaign support with a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch.

Explosive excerpts of the seven-hour footage show Strache smoking and drinking with his fellow party member Johann Gudenus in a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza. In the video, filmed two years ago, Strache appears to suggest the Russian woman buy Austria’s largest tabloid newspaper, the Kronen Zeitung, and turn it into a mouthpiece for the FPÖ.…  Seguir leyendo »

When former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England, by a Novichok nerve agent, the British government investigated — and called the Russian state responsible for the chemical attack.

The European Union also issued a strong statement and expressed “unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this grave challenge to our shared security.”

Austria signed on to the E.U. statement, but then held back when the United Kingdom, United States and a number of E.U. countries subsequently expelled some 100 Russian diplomats.

Vienna’s decision not to follow suit move drew heavy criticism from other E.U.…  Seguir leyendo »