Kurz’s Fall Leaves Europe’s Center-Right Further Adrift

Kurz’s Fall Leaves Europe’s Center-Right Further Adrift
Then-Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks during a press conference, Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 4, 2021 (AP file photo by Darko Vojinovic).

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The sudden and unexpected resignation of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is causing shock waves across Europe, where the continent’s center-right was already reeling from the impending departure from the political stage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The ripple effects of Kurz’s ouster over a corruption scandal are still reverberating, complicating the already difficult calculations of Europe’s center-right bloc on the eve of Merkel’s impending departure from the political scene.

The European People’s Party, the pan-European center-right coalition, had already lost their crown jewel when Armin Laschet, the anointed successor from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union, or CDU/CSU, led his party to its worst defeat in history. Laschet now looks set to be exiled to the political wilderness as Germany’s conservatives prepare for a stint in the opposition, barring unforeseen circumstances that would keep the center-left Social Democratic Party, or SPD, from forming a governing coalition. The defeat in Germany’s general election was only the latest in a series of setbacks for Europe’s center-right faction that has left conservatives at an unprecedented low ebb of power.

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