First Kurz government

30th Cabinet of Austria
Date formed18 December 2017 (2017-12-18)
Date dissolved3 June 2019 (2019-06-03)
People and organisations
Appointed byAlexander Van der Bellen
ChancellorSebastian Kurz (2017–2019)
Hartwig Löger (Acting; 2019)
Vice-ChancellorHeinz-Christian Strache (2017–2019)
Hartwig Löger (2019)
Member partiesPeople's Party
Freedom Party (2017–2019)
Status in legislatureMajority coalition (2017–2019)
Semi-technocratic minority cabinet (2019)
No. of ministers13
Opposition partiesSocial Democratic Party
Freedom Party (2019)
NEOS
JETZT
Opposition leaderChristian Kern (2017–2018)
Pamela Rendi-Wagner (2018–2019)
History
Election(s)2017 legislative election
PredecessorKern government
SuccessorBierlein government

The First Kurz government (German: Erste Bundesregierung Kurz or Kurz I for short) was the 30th Government of Austria in office from 18 December 2017 until 3 June 2019. It succeeded the Kern government formed after the 2017 legislative election. Sebastian Kurz, chairman of the centre-right Austrian People's Party, known by its initials in German as ÖVP, reached an agreement on a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), setting the stage for Kurz to become chancellor of Austria—the youngest head of government in Europe—for the first time.[1]

In the wake of the May 2019 Ibiza affair, Kurz terminated the coalition agreement and called for a snap election, which was ultimately held on 29 September 2019, after some disagreements over the timing. Kurz announced that his government would run as a minority technocratic caretaker government in the interim.[2] However, on 27 May 2019, his government was dismissed by the National Council through a motion of no confidence, the first successful parliamentary vote of no confidence in the Second Republic.[3] On 3 June 2019, President Alexander Van der Bellen swore in a technocratic caretaker government led by Brigitte Bierlein, who will hold office until the new coalition government between the ÖVP and The Greens is sworn in. A coalition pact of the two highly dissimilar parties was jointly announced by Kurz and Green leader Werner Kogler on New Year's Day 2020.

The alliance of the conservative ÖVP with the Greens is unprecedented at the national level.[4] It emerged from three months of dogged bargaining following the September 2019 parliamentary election, which was won by the ÖVP and the Greens, while the scandal-ridden Freedom Party and the centre-left SPÖ both suffered major setbacks. The FPÖ has since parted ways with its former leader and vice chancellor, HC Strache, but has yet to recover from the legacy of the Ibiza affair and other scandals. Meanwhile, the ÖVP under Kurz had co-opted the anti-foreigner and anti-Islamic stance of the FPÖ and won over previous supporters of the FPÖ while The Greens made a remarkable political comeback by focusing on the core issues of climate change and transparency (open government and fight against corruption). The Greens, which had been thrown out of parliament in 2017 for failure to meet the 4% threshold under Austria's version of the proportional representation system, increased their vote share to an unprecedented level of almost 14% percent, in part at the expense of the traditional centre-left SPÖ, which had failed to adapt to changing times.

As a result of the unlikely partnership between the conservative ÖVP and the Greens, the new government was set to take the charge on combating climate change and is poised to spearhead pro-environment policies in Europe, while also continuing to pursue a hard line on immigration and internal security. The latter includes deportation of migrants and pretrial detention of persons deemed a risk to public safety.[5] In announcing his party's switch to an alliance with the Greens, Kurz declared that it is possible to protect both the environment and the country's borders; he asserted that both parties were able to realise their campaign promises in the joint government programme, which the Greens overwhelmingly ratified at a national party congress convened on 4 January 2020 in Salzburg.[6][7] The Second Kurz government (dubbed Kurz-Kogler) was sworn in on 7 January 2020 by President Van der Bellen, who himself is an erstwhile leader of the Greens; Kogler serves as vice-chancellor.

Composition

Portrait Name Office Took office Left office Party

Leadership[edit]

Sebastian Kurz Chancellor of Austria
(2017-2019)
18 December 2017 28 May 2019 ÖVP
Hartwig Löger Acting Chancellor of Austria
(2019)
Vice Chancellor of Austria
(2019)
Minister of Finance
(2017-2019)
18 December 2017 3 June 2019 ÖVP
Heinz-Christian Strache Vice Chancellor of Austria
Minister of Civil Service and Sports
18 December 2017 22 May 2019 FPÖ

Ministers[edit]

Eckart Ratz Minister of the Interior 22 May 2019 3 June 2019 Independent
Herbert Kickl Minister of the Interior 18 December 2017 22 May 2019 FPÖ
Karin Kneissl Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs 18 December 2017 3 June 2019 Independent
(FPÖ nominated)
Josef Moser Minister of Constitutional Affairs, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice 18 December 2017 3 June 2019 Independent
(ÖVP nominated)
Johann Luif Minister of Defence 22 May 2019 3 June 2019 Independent
Mario Kunasek Minister of Defence 18 December 2017 22 May 2019 FPÖ
Heinz Faßmann Minister of Education, Science and Research 18 December 2017 3 June 2019 Independent
(ÖVP nominated)
Walter Pöltner Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection 22 May 2019 3 June 2019 Independent
Beate Hartinger-Klein Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection 18 December 2017 22 May 2019 FPÖ
Valerie Hackl Minister of Transport, Innovation and Technology 22 May 2019 3 June 2019 Independent
Norbert Hofer Minister of Transport, Innovation and Technology 18 December 2017 22 May 2019 FPÖ
Elisabeth Köstinger Minister of Sustainability and Tourism 18 December 2017 3 June 2019 ÖVP
Margarete Schramböck Minister of Digital and Economic Affairs 8 January 2018 3 June 2019 ÖVP
Juliane Bogner-Strauß acting Minister of Civil Service and Sports 22 May 2019 3 June 2019 ÖVP

Chancellery ministers[edit]

Gernot Blümel Chancellery minister for the EU, Arts, Culture and Media 18 December 2017 3 June 2019 ÖVP
Juliane Bogner-Strauß Chancellery minister for Women, Families and Youth 18 December 2017 3 June 2019 ÖVP

State secretaries[edit]

Hubert Fuchs State secretary in the Ministry of Finance 18 December 2017 22 May 2019 FPÖ
Karoline Edtstadler State secretary in the Ministry of the Interior 18 December 2017 3 June 2019 ÖVP

See also: Federal Ministries (Austria)

Actions

Main article: Actions of the first Kurz cabinet

See also

References

  1. ^ "Kurz Set to Become Austrian Chancellor, Backed by Nationalists". Bloomberg. 18 December 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Austria's Kurz Turns to Technocrat Cabinet as Populists Ousted". Bloomberg. 20 May 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Kabinett Kurz verliert Misstrauensabstimmung". orf.at (in German). Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  4. ^ Nada Bashir; Tara John. "Austria coalition deal is balance of far-right and environmental policies". CNN. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  5. ^ Nada Bashir; Tara John. "Austria coalition deal is balance of far-right and environmental policies". CNN. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  6. ^ Associated Press (4 January 2020). "Austria's Greens vote to enter government with People's party". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  7. ^ tagesschau.de. "Grüne in Österreich stimmen für Koalition mit ÖVP". tagesschau.de (in German). Retrieved 5 January 2020.