Edit: once again, an Old Liberal Catholic tips the scales.
VIENNA. The presidential election in Austria is decided by a head-to-head race. After the counting of mail-in absentee ballots on Monday the Green Alexander Van der Bellen has achieved a narrow place in the Hofburg. The former party leader of the Greens got 50.3 percent of the vote, 31,026 votes ahead of FPÖ candidate Norbert Hofer. The FPÖ has announced in advance their wish to contest the result.
Van der Bellen owes his victory, in this narrowest to date in Austria's history, especially the voters in the cities. On Sunday, the 72 year old received 61.1% of the votes in Vienna alone. In eight of the nine provincial capitals he was over Hofer. After counting the votes at polling stations on Sunday evening, Hofer stood at 51.9 per cent lead. Decisive for the victory Van der Bellen were the mail-in votes. Of the approximately 700,000 absentee ballots about 60% were accounted to the Green Party.
In the first round, Van had received the barking 21.3 percent of the vote. His opponent Hofer, 35.1 percent. Van der Bellen had made the promise during the election campaign that he would appoint an FPÖ politician as chancellor. In surveys the party led by Heinz-Christian Strache is in first place with more than 30 percent nationwide.
Hofer has now admitted defeat:
I would like to thank you for your substantial support. Of course I'm sad today. I'd have liked to serve you as president of our wonderful country. I will remain loyal to you and my contribution for a positive future in Austria.
Please don't be despondent. Count this campaign not as a loss but an investment in the future.
Your Norbert Hofer