Alexander Schallenberg takes charge as Chancellor of Austria
Alexander Schallenberg takes charge as Chancellor of Austria

Vienna:  Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen has sworn-in former Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as the country's new Chancellor, following the resignation of Sebastian Kurz from the post amid a graft inquiry. A career diplomat who served as foreign minister, Schallenberg is a close ally of Sebastian Kurz, who resigned as chancellor Saturday following allegations of corruption in the wake of an investigation that opened last week targeting him and nine others, including senior aides.

Schallenberg, 52, had served as the Foreign Minister since 2019, He was sworn in at a ceremony held on Monday at the presidential office, along with Michael Linhart, now the new Foreign Minister who has been serving as the Austrian ambassador to France."We all expect that the government will go back to work and move things forward together," Van der Bellen said in a brief address. He said the government now has the "great responsibility of restoring trust". For his part, Schallenberg said he would work closely with Kurz and asserted that the accusations against the former Chancellor were wrong.

Kurz resigned on October 9 following the pressure triggered by the corruption scandal and had proposed Schallenberg as his successor as the latter had the diplomatic skills necessary to rebuild trust between the parties. Kurz was the youngest head of government in the world, and being first elected to the position at the age of 31, the youngest Chancellor in Austrian history.

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