Vienna, Sept 20: Austria's Parliament dissolved itself this afternoon, following a political crisis unleashed by a conflict pitting far-rightist Joerg Haider against colleagues in his freedom party.
Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel of the centrist people's
party, which ruled in coalition with the freedom party, last
week called for early elections after key freedom party
leaders had resigned from the government and party leadership.
The resigning freedom party leaders, including vice
chancellor Susanne Riess-Passer, said they had to resign
because conflicts with Haider over the party's direction had
made their work impossible.
The elections are set to be held November 24, a date set to
be confirmed by the government on Sunday. The cabinet will
remain in place until the elections.
The next regularly scheduled parliamentary elections had
been set for September 2003. Before voting to dissolve,
parliamentarians debated for almost two days about whether
their time in power had improved or hurt Austria.
Opposition politicians argued the country had taken a
turn for the worse and set off a harmful conservative trend in
Europe. Those representing the former ruling coalition argued that the implementation of several important reforms,
including debt reduction, had made the country better.