Werner Faymann handed in his resignation as chancellor on Monday, coming after the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPO) had poor results in the last presidential vote. Thus, it is likely for rail boss Christian Kern to become the country’s next chancellor.
Austria’s ruling Social Democratic Party (SPO) fully backs Kern in this step through efficiently opening the way for Kern to lead the embattled coalition government, according to the party’s acting leader.
Faymann resigned, bowing to a party revolt that broke out after SPO’s candidate in Austria’s presidential election crashed out in the first round, far behind the winner from the anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPO). Noting that a second round will be held on May 22.
Michael Haeupl, acting SPO leader responded briefly to reporters’ questions before a meeting of senior party officials in Vienna, where he confirmed that Kern, head of Austria’s rail operator, will be sworn in as chancellor next week.
Having suffered a chain of electoral losses in the past years, the SPO and its coalition partner must either work together in government until 2018 or face an early parliamentary election which the FPO would most likely win.
In sequence, a party leadership meeting on Tuesday is expected to formally propose Kern as chancellor, after which he must be sworn in by President Heinz Fischer.
Worth mentioning that Fischer has already expressed his approval.
Strongly admired for his managing skills, Kern currently faces a very tough task in keeping the coalition alive by the time rallying a party that is divided over how to reverse its electoral fortunes without abandoning its liberal principles.
When asked if the party was united behind Kern, Haeupl said: “Yes, you can assume that.”