This article's lead section does not adequately summarize key points of its contents. Please consider expanding the lead to provide an accessible overview of all important aspects of the article. Please discuss this issue on the article's talk page. (June 2019)
Bierlein government

cabinet of Austria
2019
Date formed3 June 2019 (2019-06-03)
People and organisations
Appointed byAlexander Van der Bellen
ChancellorBrigitte Bierlein
Vice-ChancellorClemens Jabloner
Status in legislatureTechnocratic cabinet
No. of ministers11
History
PredecessorKurz

The Bierlein government (German: Bundesregierung Bierlein) is the current interim government of Austria. It was sworn in on 3 June 2019, following the termination of the Kurz government in the aftermath of the Ibiza affair. It is the first purely technocratic government in Austria, the first interim government after a successful motion of no confidence, and Bierlein is the first female Chancellor of Austria.

Background

Main article: Ibiza affair § Aftermath

The previous Kurz government was a coalition government between the conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). In May 2019, following the Ibiza affair, vice chancellor and Freedom Party leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, and his deputy, Johann Gudenus, both resigned from all of their offices.[1] People's Party Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for new elections in September 2019.[2] However, Kurz petitioned Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen to additionally remove the controversial[3][4][5] FPÖ Minister of the Interior, Herbert Kickl, from office. This caused all other FPÖ ministers to reisgn from their ministries as well.[6][7]

As a result, the government was no longer supported by a majority of MPs, and was removed in republican Austria's first successful vote of no confidence.[8] President Van der Bellen appointed Brigitte Bierlein, then head of the Constitutional Court, as interim chancellor. Following the Austrian constitution, she then picked the rest of the ministers, subject to the president's approval.

Significance

See also: List of chancellors of Austria and Constitution of Austria

While Austria has a directly elected president who is legally allowed to appoint anybody they see fit as Chancellor, the National Council's ability to pass a motion of no confidence means that Austrian governments effectively still require confidence of supply, like in purely parliamentary democracies. Even though coalition governments have, in the past, often failed, they usually remained in office until the next government was elected and appointed. A technocratic government was sometimes mentioned as a possible alternative to partisan coalition governments, but beyond the occasional appointment of independent experts to select ministries, the idea was dismissed as unrealistic due to aforementioned confidence requirements.

Kurz' removal from office was the first time in the history of Austria that a successful motion of no confidence was passed against an entire government at once. President Van der Bellen was forced to appoint a new government, but there were no other feasible coalitions, and the new election date was already set for late September. With votes from the opposition, including the ousted Freedom Party, it was even moved to a later date than what was proposed by Kurz' People's Party. It was therefore no a surprise when Van der Bellen, again for the first time in Austria, used his powers to appoint an independent chancellor.

Bierlein is the first chancellor not to belong to either of the major parties, the Austrian People's Party and the Social Democratic Party of Austria. She is also the first female chancellor and the first independent chancellor to have been appointed due to a motion of no confidence.

Composition

The cabinet consists of:[9]

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Federal Chancellery
Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Justice Clemens Jabloner3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Ministers
Federal Minister of Finance & Civil Service and Sport Eduard Müller3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Federal Minister for Sustainability and Tourism Maria Patek3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Federal Minister for the Interior Wolfgang Peschorn [de]3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research Iris Eliisa Rauskala3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Federal Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology Andreas Reichhardt [de]3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Federal Minister for Defence Thomas Starlinger [de]3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Federal Minister within the Chancellery for Women, Families and Youth Ines Stilling3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent
Federal Minister for Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection Brigitte Zarfl3 June 2019IncumbentIndependent

References

  1. ^ Heath, Ryan; Karnitschnig, Matthew (20 May 2019). "Austrian Vice Chancellor Strache resigns over scandal". Politico. Archived from the original on 19 May 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Kurz bei Van der Bellen: Neuwahl im September". Kronen Zeitung. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  3. ^ Far-right Austria minister's 'Nazi language' causes anger. BBC News, 11. Jänner 2018.
  4. ^ "FPÖ beklagt „inszenierte Medienhatz" gegen Kickl". derstandard.at. 2018-09-27.
  5. ^ On Kickl stating that law ought to be subsidiary to political will:
  6. ^ Oltermann, Philip (May 20, 2019). "Austrian government collapses after far-right minister fired". theguardian.com. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  7. ^ "Austria's far-right Freedom Party ministers all resign amid scandal". BBC News. May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
  8. ^ "Kabinett Kurz verliert Misstrauensabstimmung". orf.at (in German). Retrieved 2019-05-27.
  9. ^ Federal Chancellery. "Ministers". Federal Chancellery. Retrieved 3 August 2019.