The Austrian parliament will decide on Thursday whether the immunity of former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will be lifted.
A parliament immunity committee has unanimously decided that the politician accused of corruption should be barred from that scheme, paving the way for a final vote in parliament.
Kurz, 35, is under fire for allegedly using public money in 2016 to manipulate polls to his own advantage, allowing him to become the leader of the conservative ÖVP and thus chancellor. Nine people from his immediate environment are also accused of this. This issue is under investigation.
Kurz resigned as government leader last month because of the scandal and was replaced by a party member under pressure from the coalition partner. Since he was subsequently sworn in as a parliamentarian, he is still legally inviolable. After that, however, parliament can decide to withdraw his immunity. Kurz himself said he wants to give up his immunity to continue the investigation to prove his innocence.
Kurz is also under investigation for his possible false testimony about the Austrian corruption scandal known as Ibizagate. That case revolves around the party leader of the right-wing populist FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache. A video recorded in Ibiza has appeared of him in which it appeared that he was prepared to commit corruption. At the time of the scandal, Strache was vice-chancellor in Kurz’s government. Both got up.