Corruption scandals in Austria’s southernmost province claimed another victim on Wednesday when the head of the right-wing Freedom Party of Carinthia (FPK) quit, saying he could no longer put up with constant “media baiting.”
Uwe Scheuch announced he would exit politics but insisted this was not an admission of wrongdoing in a widening furor that is getting huge media attention and could play a role in national elections due next year. His brother Kurt took over Scheuch’s vacant posts. Scheuch, who was also deputy governor of the province, leaves just days after Carinthia’s conservative leader resigned while admitting in court he took part in a kickback scheme to milk money from the sale of state bank Hypo Alpe Adria in 2007. The abrupt departure of People’s Party (OVP) regional head Josef Martinz last week capped a series of corruption scandals that have dented confidence in public officials and prompted Austria’s parliament in June to adopt a sweeping ethics package.