Austria’s Kurz steps down as Chancellor amid corruption probe

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz resigned Saturday in the face of corruption allegations, a dramatic downfall for a rising star of European conservative politics.

Days ago, Kurz, 35, who was elected Austria’s youngest-ever leader at 31, appeared to have the support of his cabinet to hang on as chancellor. He will remain chair of the People’s Party, with influence over government policy.

In televised comments, Kurz said he had asked Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen to name a new chancellor. Kurz said the government had reached a “stalemate” with the opposition arrayed against him.

Kurz said he’d proposed that Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, be chosen as his successor.

Schallenberg, 52, who’s known to be a close ally of Kurz, has worked in Austria’s foreign ministry for most of his career.

Austria matters to the European political climate because it straddles east and west and has been a bellwether of anti-immigration populism and a thorn in the side of greater spending by the European Union.

Kurz and nine others are suspected of funneling federal funds to a newspaper publisher to orchestrate his rapid rise in government.

Prosecutors raided the offices of several Chancellery staff this week.

Kurz has denied wrongdoing. On Saturday, he called the allegations false. / Compiled from wires