Austria’s far-right candidate admits defeat

STRINGER

(FILE) A file picture dated 12 September 2016 shows right-wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPOe) presidential candidate Norbert Hofer speaks with journalists after meeting with Czech President Zeman in Prague, Czech Republic. Hofer on 04 December 2016 admitted his defeat in the re-run of the presidential elections run-off. Austrians went to the polls for a re-run of the 22 May run-off which was narrowly won by van der Bellen but later annulled by Austrian courts due to minor irregularities in vote counting following an appeal from rival Hofer.

Austria’s far-right candidate admits defeat


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Europe sighed in relief as the Austrian far-right candidate, Norbert Hofer, conceded electoral defeat on Sunday.

Herbert Hofer was the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), an anti-immigrant, anti-Islamic, and Eurosceptic party demanding a referendum on EU membership.

Following Brexit, it was feared that the far-right leader would add to the political momentum of the anti-European right. Hofer wanted to organize a similar referendum on EU membership Austria if the process of EU integration accelerated.

The winner of this Sunday’s election is the left-leaning Alexander Van der Bellen won with 53,6% according to exit polls. That is the second time he wins. His earlier victory in May was annulled in Courts, due to concerns on irregular counting.

Europe is facing a calendar of successive electoral encounters this year, with the Netherlands going to the polls in March, France in May, and Germany in October 2017.

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