THE people of Austria could be forgiven for ignoring the result of the European Parliament elections, given yesterday’s dramatic events in which the country’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz, ousted from office by a vote of no confidence in the parliament in Vienna.

The leader of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) had seen his party increase its vote in the European elections only for him to fall from grace yesterday.

He is the first chancellor to be voted out of office on a confidence vote since the Second World War and the man who was the youngest-ever chancellor at 32 is also now the shortest-serving holder of the office at 525 days.

Kurz knew he was going to lose the vote after his former coalition allies the right-wing Freedom Party (FPO) turned against him.

The FPO’s leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, resigned after being caught in a corruption scandal after which Kurz ended the coalition.

Strache was caught on tape offering to fix government contracts for a woman posing as a Russian oligarch’s daughter but the FPO did not like Kurz’s attitude to them and joined the vote against him yesterday.

With Kurz gone and the government fallen, President Alexander Van der Bellen will appoint a chancellor and a caretaker government who will take the country forward with parliament’s backing until an election setfor September.

Kurz yesterday pledged to fight that election. He told cheering supporters outside his party offices: “The changes that we began two years ago will not end today. In the end, the people will decide in September, and I’m happy about that.”

He also pledged to work with the interim government saying: “We will certainly not put any stones on the path of the next government. We will support them as much as possible.”