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Austrian government set to collapse

Austrian government set to collapse
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The leader of Austria’s co-governing People’s Party has called for a snap election, claiming it is no longer possible to work with Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer’s Social Democrats. It comes after talks on revamping the health system collapsed amid a widening rift over the country’s future role in the EU.

Vice Chancellor Wilhelm Molterer told reporters that the Social Democrats had abandoned the government’s platform, most notably with their call last month for a referendum on future changes to EU treaties and the inclusion of Turkey in the bloc.

Speaking at a hastily-arranged press conference in Vienna, Molterer, who is also Finance Minister, said “enough is enough, the Social Democrats have left the common ground of government.”

Gusenbauer and Molterer have led a shaky coalition since 2007, arguing over major issues like health care reform, taxes and education. The People’s Party has reportedly asked the Social Democrats to back a joint motion to dissolve the Austrian parliament and hold an election as early as September.