Austria: Is ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz planning his comeback? – Politics

It was a subtle, but overall remarkable series of clues that have been spread over the past few weeks to test a possible comeback by Sebastian Kurz. Well, all of the events can of course be pure coincidence. But we remember: Even the rise of the so-called miracle worker was anything but coincidence, but meticulously planned and executed. So it would be very surprising if all the messages, all the small actions didn’t serve a specific purpose.

Because the timing couldn’t be better: Chancellor Karl Nehammer, who followed as ÖVP boss shortly after his resignation due to corruption allegations in December, has to contend with bad poll numbers, scandals and the unflattering press after his questionable trip to Vladimir Putin. Also stumbling: the ÖVP in Vorarlberg and its boss Markus Wallner, who, as an important voice in the party, had called for Kurz’s resignation in the fall. Now he’s dealing with a corruption scandal and calls for his resignation. The successor is under pressure, a possible party-internal dissenting vote for the comeback is busy with itself: the timing seems to be good. Which brings us to the clues.

There are four exciting clues

Indication no. 1: the baby photo. Sebastian Kurz became a father in the midst of the confusion surrounding investigations and resignation, after which there was radio silence. At Easter, he posted a photo of his son on Instagram, which led to cheers in the newspapers. You can’t govern without the boulevard, old Austrian wisdom.

Indication #2: the yearbook. National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka writes in an important ÖVP publication that he remains convinced of Kurz’s political style. A longer interview with Kurz was printed for this purpose. Sobotka is considered a loyal party friend who actively supported the ex-chancellor when he rose to power.

Clue #3: the rumours. This week it got really striking: tabloid media report that a revolution in the ÖVP is imminent. They refer to sources in the party. The ex-chancellor denies a return, but Twitter is still in a frenzy, and the big daily newspapers are also picking up the story.

Indication No. 4: the party congress. The ÖVP meets in mid-May to officially elect Karl Nehammer as boss. Who “disrupts” the Coronation Mass? That’s right, Sebastian Kurz, who now dominates the preliminary reporting as a star guest. Insiders are already reporting on the content of his speech in the press.

Anyone who now remembers an Austrian version of “House of Cards” is not alone. As befits “Häusl of Cards”, Kurz himself dismissed all comeback plans as rumors. He has no intention of leaving the private sector. That may only be logical, because there is still a major uncertainty factor: the investigations against him for fake opinion polls and possible corruption of advertisements. As long as these are not clarified, the comeback games will probably remain just a gimmick.

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