First of all, however, Schallenberg had to face the questions asked by Armin Wolf about his relationship with former Chancellor Kurz. He continues to be “absolutely” of the opinion that the allegations are false.
That was his personal opinion, he was not anticipating the results of the investigation, and he was also of the opinion that it would be appropriate for a chancellor to express himself in this way. But he has “complete confidence” in the judiciary. Schallenberg had made the controversial statements in his first short address after being sworn in as Chancellor.
Chancellor Schallenberg: “System stays short”
In an interview with ZIB moderator Armin Wolf, Federal Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) speaks about his future responsibilities, the current investigations into former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), the “System Kurz” and the CoV policy.
Short term return possible?
When asked whether Kurz has the moral integrity to become Chancellor again, Schallenberg replied with “sure”. The new Chancellor also sees no reason to apologize for the ÖVP chats that forced Kurz to resign, as Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen did.
The question of whether and when Kurz could become chancellor again will be answered when a decision is pending. Even if he and Kurz are completely different people, there is a “very, very strong consensus” in terms of political orientation.
Rely on “experienced” heads
When asked whether the “System Kurz” continues to govern now, Schallenberg said, if you see the “Government program and the people who conscientiously implement it” in the “System Kurz”, “then yes.”
Schallenberg emphasized several times that Kurz had made the decision to “step on the side” himself and that he had earned this “great respect”. Schallenberg does not want to make changes in the government team, and he also wants to rely on “experienced people” that the government partner knows about the staff in the Federal Chancellery.
Changes would only bring further unrest. When asked specifically about the head of the media department in the Federal Chancellery, Gerald Fleischmann, and short spokesman Johannes Frischmann, Schallenberg said that they were now on vacation. He didn’t want to say more about it. The two are listed as suspects in the advertisement affair.
“Schallenberg wants to restore trust”
Schallenberg emphasized that one was still in a difficult domestic political situation. But the government had already proven to the Council of Ministers in the morning that it was “willing and able to act,” he said, referring to the budget speech by Finance Minister Gernot Blümel (ÖVP).
He has a good basis for discussions with Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens). There is a mutual effort to continue the work. It is clear that trust has been shaken and that this will not go away overnight. It is a matter of rebuilding step by step, which is also a mammoth task, according to the Chancellor. You have to give the whole thing time and see that “dust and emotion” subside.
“Get back into the substance”
In any case, it is important to work through the government program and “get back to business”, said Schallenberg. Schallenberg did not want to commit to specific political questions, such as further combating the corona virus or measures for the labor market. He is only in office for a short time and will discuss this with his ministers.
Analysis of the interview with Chancellor Schallenberg
Journalist Eva Linsinger (“profil”) and political scientist Peter Filzmaier talk about the new Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) and his future government work.
The political scientist Peter Filzmaier and the “profil” journalist Eva Linsinger agreed in the analysis of the interview in the ZIB2 that Schallenberg still had to find his role as Chancellor. According to Linsinger, this also includes emancipating oneself from Kurz.