Karl Nehammer

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Karl Nehammer
Nehammer in 2020
Chancellor of Austria
Assumed office
6 December 2021
PresidentAlexander Van der Bellen
Vice-ChancellorWerner Kogler
Preceded byAlexander Schallenberg
Chair of the People's Party
Assumed office
14 May 2022
Acting: 3 December 2021 – 14 May 2022
Preceded bySebastian Kurz
Minister of the Interior
In office
7 January 2020 – 6 December 2021
ChancellorSebastian Kurz
Alexander Schallenberg
Preceded byWolfgang Peschorn
Succeeded byGerhard Karner
Secretary-General of the People's Party
In office
20 January 2018 – 3 January 2020
Preceded byStefan Steiner
Succeeded byAxel Melchior
Member of the National Council
In office
9 November 2017 – 7 January 2020
Succeeded byRudolf Taschner
Constituency9 – Vienna
Personal details
Born (1972-10-18) 18 October 1972 (age 50)
Vienna, Austria
Political partyPeople's Party
SpouseKatharina Nidetzky
Alma materUniversity for Continuing Education Krems

Karl Nehammer (German: [kaɐ̯l ˈneːhamɐ]; born 18 October 1972) is an Austrian politician who is the 32nd and current chancellor of Austria since 6 December 2021. A member of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), he previously was Minister of the Interior from 2020 to 2021, general secretary of the ÖVP from 2018 to 2020, as well as a member of the National Council from 2017 to 2020. Nehammer assumed the chancellorship as the successor of Alexander Schallenberg, who resigned to return as Minister of Foreign Affairs.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Nehammer grew up in Vienna, where he attended Kalksburg Grammar School and subsequently Amerlingstrasse Grammar School, graduating in 1992.[2][3] He completed his military service as a one-year volunteer with further service until 1996. In 1997 he was discharged as a lieutenant. He then worked as an instructional trainer for information officers for the Federal Ministry of Defence and as a trainer for strategic communication for various institutions, such as the Vocational Promotion Institute (BFI) and the Political Academy of the Austrian People's Party.

From 2012, Nehammer completed a two-year university course in political communication at the University for Continuing Education Krems and graduated with a master's degree.[4]

Nehammer is a member of the Catholic Austrian Students' Corporations Sonnberg Perchtoldsdorf within the Mittelschüler-Kartellverband.[4]

Political career[edit]

Nehammer became active within the ÖVP party organisation after leaving the military, initially working with the party academy. He was then head of the service and mobilisation department at the party headquarters from 2007 to 2008 and the training and networking department from 2008 to 2009. He then became director of the party academy's Lower Austria association and was considered close to then-deputy governor Wolfgang Sobotka.[5]

In October 2015, Nehammer was appointed deputy general-secretary and federal organizational speaker of the Austrian Workers' Union (ÖAAB), the trade union association of the ÖVP.[4] During the 2016 Austrian presidential election, he was appointed replacement manager for the ÖVP's Andreas Khol partway through the campaign, but was unable to save him from a historically poor result of 11%.[5]

He succeeded August Wöginger as general-secretary of the ÖAAB in 2016 and held this position until January 2018. In November 2016, he was also elected regional chairman of the ÖAAB Vienna. Since April 2017, he has been district party chairman of the ÖVP in Vienna-Hietzing.[4]

In the 2017 federal election, Nehammer was elected as a representative for Vienna. During the subsequent government formation, he was a member of the ÖVP negotiating team in the area of defence. He was elected as deputy chairman of the ÖVP parliamentary faction on 8 November[6] and was appointed media spokesman. On 25 January 2018, he succeeded Elisabeth Köstinger and Stefan Steiner as general-secretary of the ÖVP.[7] In September 2018, he also succeeded Efgani Dönmez as spokesman for integration and migration.[4]

Nehammer ran in the 2019 federal election in fifth place in the ÖVP Vienna state list,[8] and eleventh place on the ÖVP federal list.[9] He was also one of the ÖVP's five assessors at the electoral authority during the election.[10] In the course of the subsequent government formation, he negotiated in the areas of Europe, migration, integration, and security.[11]

Minister of the Interior[edit]

Nehammer was appointed minister of the interior in the second Kurz government, and was sworn in on 7 January.[12] Under his leadership, the Austrian government filed charges in mid-2020 against a person who had confessed to spying for Turkey's secret service.[13] He was one of three public crisis managers during the COVID-19 pandemic, with responsibility for the enforcement of lockdowns and restrictions. He is considered a strong supporter of Sebastian Kurz's refugee policy.[5]

Nehammer led the government response following the 2020 Vienna attack. He described the attacker as an "Islamist terrorist" and a sympathiser of the Islamic State,[14] and admitted that intelligence services under his jurisdiction had failed to communicate information that could have prevented the attack.[15] Nehammer's wife and children received police protection as a result of death threats received after the attack.[16]

Chancellor of Austria[edit]

Nehammer with Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin, February 2023

In October 2021, Sebastian Kurz resigned as chancellor in the wake of a corruption investigation and was succeeded by Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. Kurz remained as leader of the ÖVP until 2 December, when he announced his retirement from politics. Soon afterwards, Schallenberg announced he would not seek the leadership and would resign as chancellor in favour of the new ÖVP leader once one had been elected.[17] On 3 December, Nehammer was provisionally appointed as leader of the ÖVP by the federal party committee and proposed as chancellor.[18][19][20] He was sworn in by President Alexander Van der Bellen on 6 December.[21] In an extraordinary party convention on 14 May 2022, Nehammer was elected ÖVP chairman by 100% of the votes.[22]

Under Nehammer's leadership, Austria's government implemented a package of measures worth six billion euros ($6.3 billion) in 2022 aimed at cushioning the blow to households of the rising cost of living.[23] On 8 December 2022, he was the architect of blocking Romania and Bulgaria's access to the Schengen area.[24] In an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt in September 2023, Nehammer called for the termination of full membership negotiations between the EU and Turkey and the development of a new concept within the relations between the EU and Turkey.[25]

Other activities[edit]


On February 22, 2022, Greek minister of migration & asylum Notis Mitarachi awarded Karl Nehammer the Commendation Medal of First Class Migration Assistance in recognition of Nehammer's and the Austrian government's contribution in managing the crisis in Evros in March 2020.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Nehammer is married to fellow ÖVP member Katharina Nehammer. They have two children.[28] The couple received criticism in early 2020 after Katharina was appointed spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence, with Herbert Kickl accusing the government of putting interior and defence policy "in the hands of one family".[29] She began working in the private sector in public relations in July 2020. Nehammer's father-in-law is former ORF presenter Peter Nidetzky.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Karl Nehammer, MSc". National Council (in German). Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Karl Nehammer (Politiker)". Wien Geschichte Wiki (in German). Vienna: City of Vienna. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  3. ^ Bose, Dimitry (December 2018). "Neun Monate - echte Veränderung? Bilanz und Perspektiven" [Nine Months - True Change? Result and Perspective] (PDF). Altkalksburger (in German). Vienna: Altkalksburger Vereinigung: 4. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Karl Nehammer, MSc". Meine Abgeordneten (in German). Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Karl Nehammer in a portrait: Mars on the move". Profil (in German). 2 December 2021.
  6. ^ "NR Presidium: Kurz defends Köstinger decision". ORF (in German). 8 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Nehammer becomes the new general secretary of the ÖVP". Kurier (in German). 20 January 2018.
  8. ^ "New People's Party Vienna: Gernot Blümel is lead candidate for Vienna". Ots.at (in German). Austrian People's Party. 5 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Federal list decided: ÖVP avoids surprises". Tiroler Tageszeitung (in German). 6 August 2019.
  10. ^ "FPÖ sent Hübner again to the federal electoral authority". ORF (in German). 30 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Teams stand for coalition negotiations". ORF (in German). 12 November 2019.
  12. ^ "From the party headquarters to the Ministry of the Interior". ORF (in German). 2 January 2020.
  13. ^ "Austria to file charges against Turkish spy: interior minister". Reuters. 1 September 2020.
  14. ^ "Vienna shooting: Austria hunts suspects after 'Islamist terror' attack". BBC. 3 November 2020.
  15. ^ Bell, Bethany (7 November 2020). "Vienna shooting: The night my safe city lost its innocence". BBC. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Islamist threats: Nehammer's wife and children receive police protection". Kleine Zeitung (in German). 11 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Austrian chancellor resigns after Sebastian Kurz withdraws from politics". Deutsche Welle. 2 December 2021.
  18. ^ Eder, Marton (2 December 2021). "Austria Braces for Third Leader in Weeks After Political Storm". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  19. ^ "Immigration hardliner Karl Nehammer to take over as Austrian leader". The Guardian. 4 December 2021.
  20. ^ "Austria ruling party picks Nehammer for chancellor". BBC. 3 December 2021.
  21. ^ "Austria: Karl Nehammer sworn in as new chancellor". Deutsche Welle. 6 December 2021.
  22. ^ "Austria's Nehammer formally elected party leader in unanimous vote". The Local. 14 May 2022.
  23. ^ Francois Murphy (14 June 2022), Austria announces 6 billion euro package to address cost-of-living crisis Reuters.
  24. ^ "Austria vetoes Bulgaria and Romania joining Europe's Schengen area". The Local. 8 December 2022.
  25. ^ "Österreich für Ende der EU-Beitrittsgespräche mit der Türkei". www.welt.de (in German). 11 September 2023.
  26. ^ Board of Trustees National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism.
  27. ^ "N. Mitarachi: 'Greece is committed to protecting the external borders of the Union - We need to combat those that exploit human suffering for financial gain'". Hellenic Republic, Ministry of Migration & Asylum. 22 February 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  28. ^ "'Loyal soldier' takes helm for Austria's conservatives". France 24. 6 December 2021. Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  29. ^ "Nehammer's wife becomes defense spokesperson". Der Standard (in German). 5 January 2020.
  30. ^ "Karl Nehammer's delicate mission". Die Presse (in German). 1 January 2020.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chancellor of Austria
Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the People's Party