Austria votes to elect its president, outgoing environmentalist Van der Bellen is the favorite

Austrians started voting on Sunday (9 October) for presidential elections which are expected to reconfirm outgoing Green President Alexander Van der Bellen, seen as a symbol of stability as the EU member country faces an energy crisis and inflation .

Backed by a broad spectrum of the political class, he is credited with more than 50% of the votes in polls and looks set to win in the first round against six opponents, all men.

“The biggest competitor on Sunday will be the sofa”joked the 78-year-old head of state on Friday at the end of the campaign in front of his supporters. “If you are interested in liberal democracy, then go vote. “

The decline of the far right

Far-right party FPÖ, which nearly won against him in 2016, would like to play the game again. But his candidate is little known: Walter Rosenkranz, 60, would collect only 15% of the votes, against the tide of the recent elections in Sweden and Italy.

Cases of corruption have lost ground to the Austrian far right, which was the first in Europe to come close to winning the presidential election six years ago. Founded by former Nazis, the FPÖ ultimately lost with over 46% of the vote, after a ballot with twists.

If the party then entered government by forming a coalition with young Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives, it had to leave power in 2019 after an incredible scandal and has never regained its past splendor since.

Read also Article reserved for our members Sebastian Kurz: behind the scenes of the fall of the Austrian chancellor

Voting ends at 5pm

Faced with this turbulence and the succession of chancellors, Alexander Van der Bellen, with the traditionally embodied function of guaranteeing the protocol, ensured the continuity of the state. Even this pro-European passes by “integrated” according to Julia Partheymüller, of the University of Vienna, that is ” much appreciated “ in comparison to “multiple crises facing many European countries”.

The portrait (in 2016): Article reserved for our members Van der Bellen, a “little refugee” who has become a bulwark against the far right in Austria

In the Alpine country of 9 million inhabitants, 6.4 million voters – including the Austro-American Arnold Schwarzenegger, a strong supporter of the president – are called to vote for a six-year term. Polling stations open at 7am and close at 5pm when exit polls are scheduled.

The world with AFP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *