VIENNA, June 3. /TASS/. Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen has sworn in new Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein and the ministers of her interim government for the work until an early election to the National Council (the lower chamber of parliament). The ceremony for declaring and appointing new cabinet of ministers of the republic was held on Monday in the presidential chancellery in the Hofburg palace in Vienna.
The president also dismissed the former government’s ministers headed by acting Chancellor Hartwig Loger, who had been ordered on May 28 to organize a disciplined transfer of power to the interim government.
Several federal ministries were merged, as were some posts of ministers accountable to the federal chancellor, whereas the posts of state secretaries at the finance and interior ministries were removed in Austria’s temporary government. A total of 12 government members will work in the cabinet of ministers: six posts were occupied by men, and six posts by women.
Austria's first female chancellor
Brigitte Bierlein, aged 69, became the first woman to serve as federal chancellor in Austria’s history. Before the appointment, she served as President of the Constitutional Court. A lawyer by education, Bierlein was born on June 25, 1949, and received higher education in the University of Vienna.
In 1990-2003, she served in the Procurator General’s Office of the Supreme Court of Justice. She maintains contacts in the conservative Austrian People's Party (OVP) and the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), but is not a member of these parties.
The government ministers
Clemens Jabloner was appointed as Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice; Alexander Schallenberg as Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs; Wolfgang Peschorn as Minister for the Interior; Eduard Muller as Minister for Finance and Minister for the Civil Service and Sport; Andreas Reichhardt as Minister for Transport, Innovation and Technology; and Thomas Starlinger as Minister for Defense.
Iris Eliisa Rauskala became Minister for Education, Science and Research, while Brigitte Zarfl became Minister for Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection. Ines Stilling was appointed Minister of Women, Families and Youth; Maria Patek became Minister for Sustainability and Tourism; and Elisabeth Udolf-Strobl was appointed Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs.
The task of the interim government is to secure the work of the executive branch of power in Austria before the early parliamentary election due in autumn this year.
The early election
On May 28, the Austrian president dismissed the government headed by Sebastian Kurz and ordered the ministers to perform their duties until an interim government is formed. He also ordered Vice Chancellor and Minister of Finance Hartwig Loger to serve as acting chancellor, as Kurz had refused to temporarily perform his duties. Loger had to govern the cabinet of ministers for several days until the president found a candidate for the post of acting chancellor. Loger himself could not occupy this post for long, because Kurz’s government had received a no-confidence motion in the parliament.
The reshuffling in the Austrian government occurred after the National Council had voted no-confidence to Kurz’s cabinet of ministers on May 27 in light of the governmental crisis amid former Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache’s vociferous resignation. Following the dissolution of the coalition government of the Austrian People's Party (OVP) and the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), Austria is preparing for an early election to the National Council due in September 2019.