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Karl Nehammer sworn in as Austria's new chancellor

09:35 07 December 2021 Author :  

Austria's former Interior Minister Karl Nehammer was sworn in on Monday as the country's new chancellor.

A member of the conservative Austrian People's Party (OVP), Nehammer became the third chancellor in three months after a corruption scandal involving former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

With a cabinet reshuffle, new finance, education, interior, and foreign affairs ministers were also sworn in during the inauguration ceremony at the Hofburg Palace, the official residence of President Alexander Van der Bellen.

Speaking at the ceremony, Van der Bellen said the most important issue on the new government's agenda was the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the social and economic problems it has caused.

Pointing out the importance of data-driven decision making amid the pandemic, as well as dialogue and cooperation between the coalition partners, Van der Bellen underlined that trust in political institutions, which has been falling in recent weeks, can be re-established.

With Nehammer's official inauguration, the chancellor's seat changed hands for the third time in the last three months.

Known for his harsh stance towards Muslims in the country and his anti-immigration attitude, the former interior minister has drawn criticism from both the opposition and non-governmental organizations.

Meanwhile, Alexander Schallenberg, who was dismissed as chancellor, was reinstated as foreign minister.

After Kurz left politics last week, the ministers of finance and education also resigned. Then-Chancellor Schallenberg said he was also ready to hand over his post to the next chair of the OVP.

Kurz had to resign as chancellor on Oct. 9 following his involvement in a public investigation on graft, bribery, and breach of trust./agencies

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