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Austria: Party backs interior chief Nehammer for chancellor

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The Associated Press

The new designated Austrian Chancellor, interior Minister Karl Nehammer, gives a press statement at a press conference after a meeting of the Austrian People's Party in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

BERLIN – Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer announced Friday that he will be the acting leader of the conservative People’s Party and will seek to become Austria's next chancellor.

The current chancellor, Alexander Schallenberg, said Thursday that he would step down to make way for someone to take over as both the head of government and the leader of the Austrian People's Party, which won the most votes in the country's 2019 election.

Schallenberg took over as chancellor in October after his predecessor, Sebastian Kurz, stumbled over corruption allegations.

Nehammer needs the backing of his party's junior coalition partners, the Greens, and the approval of Austria's president, which is considered a formality.

His position as permanent leader of the People's Party would require formal confirmation.