Austrian Government Crisis: Finance Minister Blümel Also Resigns from Office

PeoplePoliticians ♦ Published: December 2, 2021; 21:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

The resignation of Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) leader Sebastian Kurz triggers a major government reshuffle. Following Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg's resignation, Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, a longtime companion of Kurz, also announced his resignation via Facebook video this evening. Karl Nehammer is expected to take over the roles of party leader and chancellor.

Blümel was in politics for almost eight years. / Picture: © Bundeskanzleramt (BKA) / Andy Wenzel

"I have decided to leave politics. Especially for my family. But I do not say this with resentment, because it was a great honor for me to be able to work for Austria. Every single day in every function has been a privilege," Blümel said in the following video.

Death threats against his wife and family

He said the past year has been challenging and intense, especially for his family. "The fact that my political activities have repeatedly resulted in death threats against my wife and my family is something that I have not completely overcome, even with continued time," the finance minister openly admitted. 

Again and again he had talked about it with his wife, but never made a final decision about a possible retirement from politics.

The birth of his second child had contributed to his reflection process, but the impetus for his final decision had been the resignation of Sebastian Kurz.

Blümel is also leaving as head of the Vienna provincial party (ÖVP Wien).

According to sources, Blümel had been "tired of office" for some time, and rumors of his resignation had been circulating for some time. Now he has actually resigned.

Blümel is also under investigation by the judiciary

Blümel, who is under investigation by the Public Prosecutor's Office for Economic Affairs and Corruption, is listed as a suspect in the Casinos Austria affair.

The Federal Party Board will discuss on Friday who should take over the party leadership, but also the office of Chancellor.

Whether other resignations will follow, such as Agriculture Minister Elisabeth Köstinger and Economics Minister Margarete Schramböck, is still open.

Karoline Edtstadler is now being traded as a potential interior minister. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Karl Nehammer will be the next Austrian Federal Chancellor.