The ÖVP does not want to let the turbulent year 2021 and Sebastian Kurz’ resignation from all political offices sit on it. This is shown by the new “Yearbook for Politics”, which the Political Academy of the People’s Party presented on Friday. The increasingly sharp allegations against the ex-Chancellor in the past year take up a lot of space – with some sharp criticism of Kurz’s opponents. The editors write openly in the foreword: This publication is “completely influenced by the pandemic and the ‘shooting down’ of the Federal Chancellor”.
It remains to be seen whether the political competition will let some of the allegations sit on it.
While the President of the National Council and co-editor Wolfang Sobotka (ÖVP) honors the merits of the former Federal Chancellor – under the title: “Change creates hope. The Era Kurz” – the President of the Political Academy and ÖVP member of the National Council, Bettina Rausch, focuses on the opposition parties in her editorial above all – but not exclusively. Her editorial is entitled: “Polarization, Scandalization, Moralization. A difficult year for democracy and politics”.
Rausch speaks of “constructed allegations against Kurz” and “double standards”. She denounces the “shaking of the foundations of democracy and the rule of law” and the transgression of boundaries in political debate. It is striking “that the hostilities are strongest when the support of the hostiles in the population is particularly large”.
For Rausch it is clear: “The instrumentalization of the judiciary for partisan purposes was an essential element of the campaign against Kurz.” “Although the actual purpose of a committee of inquiry should be to clarify political responsibility, the result for the united opposition was clear from the start: Kurz is to blame, Kurz has to go,” writes Bettina Rausch.
The investigation committee alone served two purposes: On the one hand, it was about “presenting persons providing information as if they were accused before a tribunal”. On the other hand, they wanted “to drag information from public prosecutor’s investigations and other sources that are not intended for the public for good – constitutional – reasons to this very public.”
In Kurz’s case, “the striking consonance of left and right” was remarkable. “The SPÖ and FPÖ have found each other under the motto ‘Short must go’.”
But Kurz was not the only one to suffer: “For months, the national president was accused of being unsuitable to head the committee of inquiry because investigations were ongoing against him. The investigations have now been discontinued, but this was only worth a side note in the media, and there were no apologies from political competitors for the unjustified allegations.”
However, Rauch allows himself a dig at the judiciary: “The judiciary cannot be accused of conducting investigations when suspicions are reported. But she has to put up with the accusation of not vehemently opposing the prejudices and defending the rule of law”. After all, the presumption of innocence is also a principle in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In a sharp tone, she explains: “What is wrong with the allegations against Kurz, which seem constructed, remains open at the end of the year – the public prosecutor’s office could not bring itself to stop the investigation by the time of going to press, but could not put forward any legally convincing arguments either.”