30th May, 2019
Brigitte Bierlein, president of Austria’s constitutional court has been named the country’s first female chancellor. She will lead an interim government until elections in the autumn.
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen made the announcement today.
“I am delighted to introduce to you a personality who has once been portrayed by a newspaper as always being the first one. And she will be the first one again.The first Madame Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, President Dr. Brigitte Bierlein”, Bellen said.
The 69 year-old Bierlein will now be tasked with forming a cabinet after the previous government collapsed spectacularly over the so-called “Ibiza-gate” corruption scandal.
“I will seek to win Austrians’ trust,” Bierlein said alongside Van der Bellen in a televised statement Thursday, saying she would hold talks with political parties and civil society organisations in the coming days.
She said that Clemens Jablons, a previous president of the Supreme Administrative Court, was “ready to take up the posts of vice-chancellor and justice minister”.
She added that she would put forward diplomat Alexander Schallenberg for the post of foreign minister.
The appointment comes after Sebastian Kurz became the first chancellor in Austrian history to be thrown out of office by a no-confidence vote of MPs on Monday.
Opposition MPs had brought the motion as they said Kurz had to take responsibility for the scandal which brought down his government.
The crisis began with the publication of hidden-camera footage in which former Freedom Party (FPOe) leader and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christan Strache appeared to offer public contracts to a woman posing as a Russian investor in exchange for help in the 2017 parliamentary election campaign.
The video led Strache to resign and prompted Kurz to end his coalition with the FPOe and call snap elections.
Bierlein was born June 25, 1949 in Vienna. From 1990 to 2002,she was the advocate general of the Procurator’s Office, essentially the country’s chief public prosecutor.
In 2003, she became a member of the Austrian Constitutional Court.
She was educated at the Gymnasium Kundmanngasse, from which she graduated in 1967. She then went on to study law at University of Vienna, graduating in 1971. She rose through the ranks before she was sent to the prosecutors’ office in 1977.