Austria election: Alexander Van der Bellen set to win again



Austria’s liberal president was on the right track to win a second six-year time period outright Sunday, avoiding a runoff vote after a marketing campaign wherein he portrayed himself because the secure possibility in unsure occasions.

Preliminary outcomes gave President Alexander Van der Bellen 54.6 per cent of the vote and his closest rival, far-right Freedom Party candidate Walter Rosenkranz, 19.1 per cent.

Those figures didn’t embrace postal ballots, which will likely be counted on Monday. Projections for ORF public tv and the Austria Press Agency for the ultimate outcome confirmed Van der Bellen successful round 56 per cent of the vote, with a bit of underneath 18 per cent for Rosenkranz.

Campaign posters for the 78-year-old Van der Bellen, who hails from the environmentalist Green social gathering however ran as an impartial, featured the slogan “The Safe Choice in Stormy Times.”

Austria has confronted repeated political turmoil lately. The Alpine nation of round 9 million individuals went by means of 5 chancellors throughout Van der Bellen’s first time period, with authorities crises giving the often-largely ceremonial head of state unusually excessive visibility.

There have been seven contenders in Sunday’s election, however Van der Bellen had the implicit or specific backing of Austria’s mainstream events. The Freedom Party was the one social gathering in parliament to area a candidate towards him.

Van der Bellen stated that, with pre-election polls giving him an enormous lead, he had anxious that folks would not end up to vote.

“We have never had seven candidates in a presidential election before, and I don’t think we have ever — at least I can’t think of an example — had such an environment in which people are unsettled, where discontent with politics is high and you don’t know what direction that will go in,” he advised ORF.

The president stated Austria faces “very uneasy occasions,” with worries in regards to the struggle in Ukraine, power provides and costs and a possible resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I hope there will be a kind of closing of ranks of the constructive forces in this republic so that we can tackle these problems together,” he stated.

In 2016, Van der Bellen beat a extra distinguished Freedom Party candidate, Norbert Hofer, by about 53.8 per cent to 46.2 per cent in a runoff that was rerun on the orders of Austria’s Constitutional Court.

Hofer’s social gathering had claimed widespread voting irregularities within the preliminary runoff months earlier that Van der Bellen received by a whisker. The vote was carefully watched in a 12 months that produced the Brexit vote within the U.Okay. and Donald Trump’s election within the United States.

There was no sign of any such drama this time.

The Freedom Party, which was the junior companion in a coalition authorities that collapsed in a scandal surrounding its then-leader in 2019, had capitalized on inflation and rising power costs to make modest ballot good points in latest months. But Rosenkranz, a lawyer and the previous chief of its parliamentary group, did not pose the sturdy problem that Hofer did.

The remaining 5 candidates — all of whom have been seen polling underneath 10 per cent — included different contenders on the arduous proper.


Geir Moulson reported from Berlin.


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