Austria: Far-right wins 1st round of presidential vote

VIENNA (AA) – The far-right Freedom Party candidate has won the first round of the Austrian presidential election.

Preliminary results show Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer with 36.4 percent of votes, Green Party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen with 20.4 percent and the independent candidate Irmgard Griss 18.5 per cent.

The Social Democrat Party’s Rudolf Hundstorfer and People’s Party Andreas Khol each received a little over 11.2 percent of votes.

A second round will be held next month on May 22, seemingly between Van der Bellen and Hofer.

For the first time since the end of the World War II, a president that is not from Austria’s two main parties, the Social Democrat Party’s and the People’s Party, will lead the country.

Sunday’s vote constitutes a very important victory for the far-right Freedom Party. Polls had shown that the candidate would come second.

About 60 percent (turn-out) of Austria’s 6.4 million voters participated presidential elections.

After the preliminary results became public, the People’s Party candidate Andreas Khol declared his withdrawal from politics.