A series of strange events has recently befallen Austria. It began with political scandal and the collapse of the coalition government between Sebastian Kurz’s People’s Party and Heinz-Christian Strache’s Freedom Party and ended a few weeks later with the President of Austria appointing a “technocratic provisional government” composed of judges and civil servants, who will now steer the ship of state as a caretaker cabinet until early elections in September. The details of what precipitated the coalition government’s collapse would have seemed outlandish prior to, say, 2016, but now seem both depressingly believable and yet still absurd. The final outcome of the political scandal has taken the caretaker convention to its logical extreme because of the peculiarities of Austria’s constitution and its provisions surrounding non-confidence, early dissolution, and government formation.
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