Karl Nehammer: Austria’s Unplanned Chancellor

Karl Nehammer: Austria’s Unplanned Chancellor

The previous Minister of the Interior, Karl Nehammer, is to become Austria’s new Chancellor. Who is the man who has so often caused outrage among the green coalition partners and who only broke with the FPÖ’s vaccination populism late?

The stretched, accentuated voice of Karl Nehammer knows – and this is no exaggeration – almost the entire population of Austria. The previous Minister of the Interior has been permanently present in the media since the beginning of the pandemic. 

At the almost daily, well-staged government press conferences at Sebastian Kurz’s side, he promoted the work of the police and the implementation of the corona measures: “We are the Flex, the dividing plate for the health authorities to break the chain of the infection quickly. “

After graduating from high school, he was a professional soldier for several years before embarking on politics. After serving in the People’s Party – as a functionary in the workers’ organization of the ÖVP, then finally as Secretary-General under Sebastian Kurz – Nehammer moved up to the cabinet as Interior Minister at the beginning of January 2020.

Giving a clear map in the political fields of migration, asylum, internal security and following the guidelines of the then Chancellor Kurz exactly: What earned him applause from within his ranks often met with outrage from the Green coalition partner.

Grinding Teeth At The Coalition Partner

For example, Karl Nehammer had underage girls deported to their countries of origin, Georgia and Armenia, in a nocturnal operation with a police operation: “There have been countless harmful asylum procedures.

It was clear from the start that there was no right to stay,” he said. “The parents deliberately ignored that.”

The Greens grudgingly took note of these and similar actions by the Interior Minister. The pandemic forged the dissimilar coalition partners together. 

When the terrorist attack occurred on the evening of November 2, 2020, in the middle of Vienna’s city centre, with four dead and dozen injured, it was the Interior Minister who was the focus of national attention in the following days, looking for explanations as to why the later assassin took weeks and weeks For months before, the intelligence agency was in the sights.

Karl Nehammer drew attention to alleged shortcomings in the justice department, headed by the Green Minister Alma Zadic, and particularly emphasized that “the terrorist has managed to deceive the deradicalization program of the judiciary, to deceive the people there”.

Long Collegial Relationship With The FPÖ

Karl Nehammer’s consequence:

The scandal-ridden Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight against Terrorism was reorganized. No hammer was only able to present the successor organization at the beginning of this week. 

With his predecessor in the interior department, Herbert Kickl from the right-wing populist FPÖ, Nehammer had a very collegial relationship during the turquoise-blue coalition. This relationship later broke due to the constant fight against the corona measures of the FPÖ.

Addressing Kickl, Karl Nehammer said in a parliamentary debate: “Your remarks, Mr Club Chairman, I am withdrawing our you-word from you, which we enjoyed mutually, your remarks on the subject of Corona are top-notch.” Nehammer commented on his sudden rise to the head of the ÖVP and future Chancellor with the words: “It cannot be planned.” That is a big challenge.

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