Crowds of demonstrators booed loudly on Monday as former interior minister and acting chairman of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Karl Nehammer was sworn in as chancellor alongside a new government at Hofburg Palace in Vienna.
The swearing-in ceremony, which saw Nehammer and five ministers assume their respective positions, took place on Monday afternoon and comes just days after former Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg—who spent less than two months at the helm of the country—announced his resignation, Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung reports.
Police officers can be seen holding back jeering crowds as Nehammer and other government officials made their way to the Hofburg Palace.
Support for the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has declined precipitously since the spring of 2020 when it enjoyed some 45% support. Today, amid sky-high tensions over its recently announced COVID-19 vaccination mandate, the ruling party is polling at just 23%, behind the Austrian Social Democrats (SPÖ) which lead with 26%, and just ahead of the national-conservative Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) which sits at third place with 21%.
Nehammer is Austria’s third head of state in the two months since Sebastian Kurz stepped down in October following accusations that he used state funds to ensure positive media coverage. On December 2, Kurz, who was still chairman of the ÖVP, suddenly resigned from all his positions and announced his withdrawal from politics. Later that day, Schallenberg also resigned.