Austrian vice chancellor resigns amid party pressure

VIENNA, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Austrian Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger announced his resignation Tuesday owing to criticisms within his own party.

At a surprise press conference, the senior Austrian politician said that his decision also stemmed from a lack of cohesion within his conservative People's Party.

"If there is no cohesion, it is time to hand over the reins," he said, noting that because of the drawn-out tax reform debate, loyalty and competence in reaching agreement are missing.

Spindelegger stressed that the situation had reached a point where he owed it to himself to make this decision.

Members of the People's Party have become increasingly critical of Spindelegger, with a number of prominent members openly calling for a change in direction.

Tyrolean Chamber of Labour President Erwin Zangerl called for Spindelegger's resignation on Monday, saying Spindelegger's reluctance in implementing necessary tax reforms showed a lack of understanding of the Austrian people.

The governors of Tyrol and Upper Austria states, Guenther Platter and Josef Puehringer, have also recently made it clear that they wanted their party leader to adopt a new course.

Spindelegger has served as vice chancellor in the coalition government and leader of the People's Party since 2011, and as finance minister since late 2013. From 2008 to 2013 he served as foreign minister.