Rumours the centre-right ÖVP could break up the government and force an early election have been strongly denied by Chancellor Karl Nehammer in an interview with public broadcaster ORF on Sunday.
Government coalitions in Austria have not been stable in recent years, with ruling parties, like former prime minister Sebastian Kurz’s party, seemingly breaking up coalitions in attempts to capitalise on what they perceived to be a moment of weakness of their political enemies.
“I have a legislative term to finish,” Nehammer said on Sunday, reacting to rumours that his centre-right party ÖVP could be capitalising on the social democrat SPÖ’s drop in the polls and current search for leadership ahead of the 2024 elections.
Emphasising the agreement the ÖVP struck with the Greens to form a government in 2020, “our clear target is 2024, autumn, as provided for by law,” Nehammer added.
Sources from the centre-right stressed that there was no intention to push for an earlier election, given the party’s approval ratings, Der Standard reported.
The mood within the government, though, has seen better days.
Relations between Nehammer and his Green Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler were damaged as the chancellor suddenly went against the EU’s proposed combustion engine ban – directly going against the green ministers’ position.
The two ruling parties still have not agreed to a comprehensive climate protection law.
(Nikolaus J. Kurmayer | EURACTIV.de)