Vienna – Austria’s liberal president is set to win a second six-year term outright on Sunday, avoiding a run-off vote after a campaign that painted himself as a stable option in uncertain times. did.
Preliminary results put President Alexander van der Bellen at 54.6% of the vote, while his closest rival, far-right Liberal candidate Walter Rosencrantz, had 19.1%.
These numbers do not include mail-in ballots, which are counted on Monday. ORF Public Television and the Austrian Press Agency’s predictions for the final outcome saw van der Bellen getting around 56% of the vote, with Rosenkrantz winning just under 18% of him.
A campaign poster for van der Bellen, a 78-year-old independent from the environmentalist Green Party, carried the slogan “Choose Safe in Stormy Times.”
Austria has faced a series of political turmoil in recent years. With a population of about nine million, this alpine country underwent five prime ministers under Van der during his Belém first term.
Although there were seven candidates in Sunday’s election, van der Bellen had the implicit or explicit support of Austria’s mainstream political parties. The Liberal Party was the only party to field a candidate against him in Parliament.
Van der Bellen said he had a big lead in pre-election polls and was worried people would not go to the polls.
“Never before have seven candidates run for president. I can’t think of at least one example of an environment where political dissatisfaction is high and people are agitated. I don’t know if I’ll go on,” he told ORF.
The president said Austria was facing “a very volatile time” and expressed concern about war in Ukraine, energy supplies and prices and a possible resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I hope that there will be a kind of closure of the constructive forces of this republic so that we can work together on these issues,” he said.
In 2016, van der Bellen defeated the more prominent Liberal Party candidate Norbert Hofer by about 53.8% to 46.2% in the runoff, which was rerun by order of the Austrian Constitutional Court.
Hofer’s party claimed that voter fraud was widespread in the first run-off a few months ago, and van der Bellen won by a narrow margin. The vote was watched closely in the year that spawned the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US.
There was no sign of such drama this time.
The Liberals, junior partners in a coalition government that collapsed in 2019 in a scandal over its then-leader, had been taking advantage of inflation and rising energy prices to make small poll gains in recent months. But Rosencrantz, a lawyer and former leader of that parliamentary group, did not pose the strong challenge Hofer did.
The remaining five candidates (all of whom were seen in less than 10% of the polls) included other far-right candidates.
Geir Moulson reports from Berlin.
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https://www.ksat.com/news/world/2022/10/09/projection-austrias-president-to-win-2nd-term-no-runoff/ Austrian president wins second term without run-off vote