After two years of government, Kurz's Austrian People’s Party could not survive a vote of no confidence. Austria's government has failed, but who will emerge from the rubble to take over?
In an example of how fast things can change in Austria, on Sunday the centre-right conservative Austrian People’s Party (OeVP), fresh off the back of a strong showing in the European parliament elections, was booted out of parliament.
The OeVP won 34.9 percent of the vote on Sunday but on Monday lost a vote of confidence, seemingly ending Sebastian Kurz's chancellorship, at least for the time being.
In September, he will have another shot at the position when National Council elections are held.
Kurz accused the Social Democratic Party (SPOe), who brought forward the no-confidence vote, and the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) of wanting “revenge".
"But what I really do not understand is that the motion of censure is being extended to the whole government in response to the EU election,” he said in a speech in parliament.
What happens now?
Kurz will struggle to form a new coalition. Both the far-right and the SPOe voted to bring down his government, and are unlikely to join hand with him in a new coalition.
United against Kurz but united enough for a coalition?
The Social Democrats and the far-right both voted to bring down Kurz but neither would choose to form a coalition with the another.
The SPOe was also critical of Kurz for joining hands with the far-right in the first place.
Kurz described the no-confidence vote as a “red-blue coalition”, however leftists’ beliefs are antithetical to the far-right, so it is near certain that the two will not cooperate beyond removing Kurz.
The Social Democrats previously called for an independent technocratic government until elections take place in September. Kurz had wanted to keep a minority government in place until the no-confidence vote toppled him.
With bitter animosity between the SPOe and Kurz, there’s little likelihood the pair will enter a coalition in the future, meaning Austria’s immediate future is up in the air for now.
Kurz's deputy chancellor, Finance Minister Hartwig Loeger, takes over the duties of chancellor until the interim government is appointed.
President Alexander Van der Bellen on Tuesday temporarily appointed the same Cabinet ministers back into their old roles to ensure the government is properly run until he can appoint a caretaker government.
That's expected to happen within the next week, and that provisional government will govern until new elections in September.