In Austria, the leader of the extreme right resigns

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The fall will have been brutal. Heinz-Christian Strache, figure of the Austrian far right, announced this Saturday, May 18 at 12:30, his resignation from the post of vice-chancellor he held since December 2017. He also abandons the leadership of the Austrian party of the freedom (FPÖ). "I submitted my resignation this morning to Chancellor Kurz and he accepted it", he said, his voice flickering and his face tense.

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Heinz-Christian Strache only held a few hours after revelations made by two prestigious German media: Der Spiegel and Die Süddeustche Zeitung broadcast a video filmed in Ibiza, Spain, in July 2017, just a few weeks before the Austrian legislative elections, in the evening of 17 May, unbeknownst to the man who at the time was still the leader of the FPÖ.

Very interested links with Russia

We discover a very casual Heinz-Christian Strache, explaining to a woman, portrayed as the niece of a Russian oligarch, how to secretly finance the campaign of his party. He also proposes to buy the largest newspaper in the country, Die Krönen Zeitung, and presents the political advantages of such an operation for the FPÖ. In exchange, Heinz Christian Strache explains how his Russian interlocutors could get state contracts if his party came to power.

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According to the magazine Der Spiegel, who did not specify how he obtained this video, the leader of the FPÖ has indeed fallen into a trap to reveal the very close ties he had with Russia, beyond the mere ideological aspects .

In front of the press, very tense, Heinz Christian Strache recognized the existence of this conversation during"A very alcoholic evening". "It was silly, irresponsible and a mistake," he said, apologizing to his relatives for this behavior "Worthy of a teenager". On the other hand, he denied that he had received any money since then and had met this young Russian woman again.

It's a close friend of Marine Le Pen who falls

This scandal puts an end to the career of one of Austria's most controversial political figures. Linked in his youth to neo-Nazi groups, Heinz-Christian Strache had managed to reach the highest Austrian political spheres by polishing his image. Close to Marine Le Pen, he was an example for the European nationalists, that contributed to bring closer to the Kremlin.

For Austria, the resignation redistributes cards to eight days of European elections and as twelve nationalist parties, eurosceptic and Europhobic meet this Saturday afternoon in Milan, Italy. Not surprisingly, the Austrian FPÖ representative, Harald Vilinski, canceled his participation. "Who benefits from this? " wonders this MEP. "It's only useful for Juncker, Merkel and Macron".

Asked by a German channel, Martin Knobbe, one of the Spiegel journalists who revealed the case, said he does not know if this case will affect voters. He estimates that "This video shows in any case that Heinz-Christian Strache and the FPÖ are different from what they want to show, namely a clean party".

(tagsToTranslate) Austria (t) extreme right (t) Europe (t) resigns

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