Austria unveils ‘world’s strictest’ anti-corruption law package
VIENNA, January 12 – RIA Novosti. Austria passed a package of laws that tightened the fight against corruption, we are talking about the increase in the number of articles on corruption and harsher penalties for them. Karoline Edtstadler, Austria’s Minister for EU and Constitutional Affairs, presented the initiative to reporters on Thursday, describing the anti-corruption package as “the strictest in the world”.
Proposals to tighten anti-corruption legislation in Austria were previously discussed at the government’s first off-site meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in the new year. As a result of the meeting, it was stated that new initiatives will directly affect the control issues over the financing of political parties and the media.
“Time for a general cleanup in politics… This is a clear call to action for politicians. That’s why we take this issue seriously, we said why it’s important now – taking a step towards tightening up the fight against corruption Austrian Justice Minister Alma Zadich (Greens) on new legislative initiatives It really closes the existing “gaps”, as the “video from Ibiza” points out to us,” he said at a briefing.
According to Zadich, secret financing of election campaigns of candidates for deputies of the National Council (parliament), other bodies and party bodies will be punished in Austria. Candidates’ pre-election “unauthorized” promises, such as the distribution of government orders accompanied by the financing of that candidate, by the individuals or organizations concerned, will be penalized. In addition, penalties for corruption will be tougher, which will affect not only politicians and officials, but also entrepreneurs. Zadich said these will triple, especially with regard to the last group of citizens.
As Minister for EU Affairs and Constitution, who attended the briefing, Karoline Edtstadler said that the persecution of National Council deputies “who sell and buy their powers” is Austria’s “knowledge that is not found anywhere”. In the EU.” Austria’s anti-corruption laws would thus become “the strictest in the world”, he said.
He stressed that in the future, the penalty would affect “everyone who secretly gives, promises or offers money in exchange for a mandate in the regional parliament (Landtag – ed.), the National Council, the Federal Council (chamber of the regions – ed.) or the European Parliament”, as well as in the European Parliament. any party representative on the party list in those bodies who “accepts a promise to provide or provide funds in exchange for an assignment.” According to Edstadler, immunity from prosecution will no longer apply to people holding public office if they are accused of corruption, including during the election campaign phase.
“We must ensure that free and independent elections continue so that elections become a central element of democracy. At the same time, we must support the constitutionally protected autonomy of parties. The political processes that arise in a democracy should not be criminalized over time,” he said. Edstadler.
In May 2019, a scandalous video appeared in the German media with the participation of Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, shot on the island of Ibiza, as indicated in the publications. Following this broadcast, Strache announced his resignation as deputy prime minister and leader of the Austrian Free Party (FPÖ). Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced the day after the scandalous materials were published that the coalition government with the participation of the FPÖ had been completed and new early elections were held. Following his results, Kurz assumed the post of Chancellor of Austria again in the fall of 2019.
In October 2021, Kurz resigned from the Austrian premiership due to an open investigation into him on suspicion of aiding bribes and breaching trust in connection with the alleged public funding of biased opinion polls in favor of his political party, the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP). ). In December 2021, Kurz officially announced that he was stepping down as head of the ÖVP and retiring from politics.
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