Klaudia Tanner, 49, has been named as the incoming Minister for Defence, to be sworn in on Jan 7, 2020. Mrs Tanner has no prior experience in defence policy, but is reported to have already been shortlisted for the ministerial post in 2017.
She currently heads the Lower Austrian branch of the conservative party’s Farmers’ Association (Bauernbund), an organisation she joined in 1996 as a fresh law graduate.
Mrs Tanner, gained political experience when joining Ernst Strasser’s cabinet in the Ministry of the Interior Ernst Strasser in the early 2000s. (Mr Strasser was later convicted to jail time in a high-profile corruption case.) She then proceeded to work for Austrian information, technology and telecommunications company Kapsch as a ‘relationship manager’ from 2003 before returning to Lower Austria’s Farmer’s Association in 2011, then as its director.
She is credited with knowing how to handle a rebellious base as well as the ability to quickly absorb and act on detailed subject matter expertise. Furthermore, she has a track record of pushing through demands against resistance, a skill sure to come in handy in her new job.
In 2017 as now, the Ministry of the Interior was occupied by a conservative minister; it is unusual in Austrian politics to have one party nominate individuals for that and the Ministry of Defence as is happening now in early 2020. A further controversy arose on the weekend preceding the inauguration, when an Austrian newspaper reported that the wife of the incoming Minister of the Interior would assume the job speaker for Mrs Tanner.
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