Austrian minister known for hard line on migration steps down

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the public face of Austria's tough border policy, is stepping down and will return to regional politics, her conservative People's Party (OeVP) announced Sunday.

OeVP nominated Wolfgang Sobotka to replace Mikl-Leitner, who was a key driver of Austria's increasingly restrictive asylum policies and of closing down the migration route from Greece to Western Europe in coordination with Balkan countries.

Sobotka is currently responsible for finances in the regional government of Lower Austria province.

Mikl-Leitner left a government post in the province of Lower Austria in 2011 to become interior minister, initially planning to limit her work in the national government to three years.

Now, five years later, she will return to Austria's largest province to become the deputy of current governor Erwin Proell, one of the OeVP's most powerful figures.

Proell, who has plans to retire soon, is widely expected to hand over his post to Mikl-Leitner after leading Lower Austria for nearly 25 years, Die Presse and other media reported.

Mikl-Leitner seemed relieved to leave her current post.

"In a few days, I will be done with what's probably the most difficult job in this republic and I will look forward to the most beautiful job," she told reporters in Vienna.

Last update: Sun, 10/04/2016 - 21:05

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