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Austria narrowly escapes a far-right President #phew

European Union member-state Austria narrowly escaped a far-right president: independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen has won Austria’s presidential election, preventing Norbert Hofer from becoming the EU’s first far-right head of state.

A thriller of voting results on Sunday had Hofer leading narrowly the race with 51.9% and 48.1% for Van der Bellen, Austrian interior ministry said, after counting on Sunday.

austria

  Van der Bellen

However it was the 750.000 postal votes – roughly 12% of Austria’s 6.4 million registered voters – that determined that the far-right candidate had lost with a difference of some 3,000 votes.

Van der Bellen campaigned on a pro-EU platform, backed by the Green Party.

Alexander Van der Bellen’s parents arrived in Vienna as refugees after fleeing Soviet invasion of Estonia in 1940.

Hofer, of the Freedom Party, had tapped into anti-EU sentiment and fears about rising numbers of asylum seekers.

The presidency is largely a ceremonial post, but the president has the power to dissolve the National Council – the more powerful lower house of parliament – and so trigger a general election.

Sunday’s election highlighted sharp divisions in Austrian society.

Van der Bellen came top in nine out of Austria’s 10 main cities, while Hofer dominated rural areas.

Men and working class voters favored Hofer, women and educated classes Van der Bellen.

Austria may have escaped a far-right President but still, the high rates for Hofer cause concern. Not only to Austrians but also to democratic Europe. The rise of nationalism is not just a ghost that wanders around in empty hounded houses.

Meanwhile, in Cyprus, the sister party of Greek far-right Golden Dawn entered the Parliament for the first time, with 2 seats.

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2 comments

  1. I did not vote in the finals because my favorite candidate missed the finals (only 1% behind van der Bellen). Nevertheless, let me state that neither Norbert Hofer nor his party are far-right. They are a rightist part just like the LINKE in Germany is a leftist party. The article below gave one of the best descriptions of the Austrian situation that I have read:

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      Sure they’re, to not call’em like this is promotion of fascism as they’re the same tricky bastards like in Poland, Turkey, Hungary or in Russia that change laws and constitutions after getting elected just like Hitler did; Hofer, btw is also an anti-Austrian that shouldn’t be allowed to candidate as he’s posing with the German flag.
      “Die Linke” are the same traitors as Syriza, when in government they’re not even “left” enough to care for their voters to not getting deported from their neighbourhoods due to gentrification by greedy capitalist bastards, scummy hipsters, corrupt politicians and their police-slaves.