April 10, 2016 / 5:25 PM / in 2 years

Austrian interior minister to leave government, party confirms

VIENNA (Reuters) - Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, often the face of Austria’s increasingly tough line on immigration, is leaving the government and plans to swap jobs with the deputy governor of her home province, Lower Austria, her party said on Sunday.

Austria's Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria, in this April 5, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

Vice-Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner, who heads the center-right People’s Party (OVP), confirmed that its leadership had approved the decision, speaking at a joint news conference with Mikl-Leitner and her planned replacement, Wolfgang Sobotka.

“Now that we have the decision of the party leadership, we will clear it with the president and of course with the chancellor,” Mitterlehner said, adding that the job switch should take place within about two weeks.

The announcement confirmed reports on Saturday that the party was planning the move. Mikl-Leitner and Sobotka praised each other, giving little indication of any change in policy.

Chancellor Werner Faymann, a Social Democrat, said in a statement: “It is the coalition partner’s decision, which I respect, of course.”

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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