Austrian far-right triumphs in presidential vote

2016-04-24 21:20


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Vienna - Austria's anti-immigration far-right triumphed on Sunday in the first round of a presidential election, with candidates from the two governing parties failing to even make it into a May 22 run-off.

Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPOe) won 36.7% of the vote, followed by Alexander van der Bellen backed by the Greens on 19.7% and independent candidate Irmgard Griss on 18.8%, projections showed.

From the governing coalition, Rudolf Hundstorfer from the Social Democrats (SPOe) came joint fourth with just 11.2%, level with Andreas Khol from the People's Party (OeVP).

The result, if confirmed, means that for the first time since 1945, Austria will not have a president backed by either the SPOe or OeVP.

Support for the two parties has been sliding for years and in the last general election in 2013 they only just garnered enough support to re-form Chancellor Werner Faymann's "grand coalition".

Austria also no longer has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union and Faymann's coalition, in power since 2008, has bickered over structural reforms.

The next general election is due in 2018. The FPOe is currently leading national opinion polls with more than 30 percent of voter intentions, boosted by Europe's migrant crisis.

Read more on:    austria

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