Vienna, June 3 (IANS) Brigitte Bierlein became the first woman to lead the Austrian government after she was sworn in as new Chancellor of the caretaker government at the Presidential Palace, here on Monday.
Following weeks of political turmoil, triggered by a corruption scandal at the heart of the ruling nationalist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen administered the oath of office to Bierlein, reported Efe news.
Bierlein, 69, a well-known judge, until now had been the President of the Constitutional Tribunal. The chancellor’s team is made up of a 12-member cabinet, with equal representation of men and women.
Sebastian Kurz, leader of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), was at the helm of a coalition with the FPÖ until it was struck by the so-called Ibiza scandal on May 17 when two German media outlets broadcasted a video, secretly recorded at a mansion on the Spanish island in 2017.
The video footage showed FPÖ leader Heinz Christian Strache at a meeting with an alleged Russian woman millionaire. In the video, Strache was seen promising public contracts, as well as help to buy the Kronenzeitung, the most influential newspaper in the country, in exchange for millions of donations for his party.
Following Strache’s resignation, Kurz dissolved the coalition and called for elections.
On May 27, his own government tabled a motion of no-confidence in him, which was approved by Parliament, forcing his resignation.
Van der Bellen on Monday stressed importance to move on from the scandal and said he was convinced the new government would represent the country in a diplomatic and friendly way. “I am especially happy to have a woman leading our government for the first time,” Bellen said.
Some of the new ministerial positions, include a well-known Austrian diplomat Alexander Schallenberg named as Foreign Minister. Clemens Jabloner, 70, will be both Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Constitution, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice.
The remaining cabinet positions have been filled by high ranking lawmakers.