Monday, May 23, 2016

Alexander Van der Bellen has won Austria's presidential election. Mr Van der Bellen campaigned on a pro-EU platform backed by the Greens.

Alexander Van der Bellen has won Austria's presidential election, preventing Norbert Hofer from becoming the EU's first far-right head of state.

Mr Hofer led narrowly after Sunday's election but postal votes gave Mr Van der Bellen victory by 50.3% to 49.7%.

Mr Van der Bellen campaigned on a pro-EU platform backed by the Greens.

Mr Hofer, of the Freedom Party, tapped into anti-EU sentiment and fears about rising numbers of asylum seekers. He conceded victory on his Facebook page.

Mr Hofer, 45, said it was a sad day and that he would have gladly served as president.

"But please don't be disheartened. The effort in this election campaign is not wasted, but is an investment for the future."
'Relief'

Announcing the result, the interior ministry said Mr Van der Bellen had won 2,254,484 votes to Mr Hofer's 2,223,458, a margin of 31,026 ballots.

Mr Hofer had led Mr Van der Bellen by 51.9% to 48.1% after counting on Sunday. But the 750,000 postal votes - roughly 12% of Austria's 6.4 million registered voters - swayed the result...
 BBC
23/5/16
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