Austrian president secures re-election in first round of voting

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen on Sunday secured a second six-year term in office by winning a clear majority of votes and avoiding a run-off, according to projections.


The far-right Freedom Party was the only one in parliament to field a candidate against Van der Bellen, who won a much tighter race against a Freedom Party opponent in 2016.


With 95 percent of votes counted, a projection by pollster SORA put Van der Bellen winning 56.1 percent with a margin of error of 1.1 percentage points.


His nearest rival was the Freedom Party’s Walter Rosenkranz at 17.9 percent.

The Austrian president has a largely ceremonial role, but the officeholder also has sweeping powers during periods of overseeing transition and turbulence.


The president is the commander in chef of the army and can sack the whole government or the chancellor.

About 6.4 million people were eligible to vote out of a population of nine million.


Van der Bellen, 78, has the explicit or implicit backing of Austria’s major parties except for the Freedom Party.




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