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Left-leaning Van Der Bellen leads Austrian presidential vote count


12-05-2016 05:25 BJT

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VIENNA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua)-- Green party-backed candidate Alexander Van der Bellen beat the right-wing candidate in the rerun of Austrian presidential election on Sunday, according to the projection by the SORA institute for broadcaster ORF.

The projection showed that Van der Bellen got 53.3 percent of the votes, 6.6 percent higher than the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria(FPO) candidate Norbert Hofer's 46.7 percent with a margin of error of 1 percentage point, making Hofer impossible to reverse in the election.

Hofer conceded defeat in Sunday's election via a Facebook post. "We are all Austrians, no matter what we decided at the ballot box," he wrote, saying that he feel "sad." He also congratulated Van der Bellen.

Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of FPO, in an interview of ORF criticized that many other parties in Austria get together to fight against his party during the election.

"Others would have wished for such a result today, who did not even make it to the run-off round," he said.

He said he is anticipating that general elections will take place in 2017. As the main candidate for his party, he said he will be glad to have Hofer and other FPO personalities in his team.

Van der Bellen could be the first Austria's president who is not from the mainstream parties since the end of World War II.

It seems to be a victory for Austria to defend against populism. Austria was concerned if the victory of Donald Trump in the United States could embolden the populism in the country.

The victory is not announced by Austrian Interior Ministry yet.

Austria's president traditionally plays a ceremonial role, but the president could dismiss a government under the constitution. the most significant clout which hasn't been used by presidents after the war.

Hofer said he needs Austrians and would work for them, threatening to dismiss the parliament when necessary.

The 45-year-old was also the youngest right-wing candidate of the election, the leading runner in the first round of election.

Van der Bellen was the former chief of green party and an independent candidate but backed by the Green Party.

The presidential election's influence is already far beyond Austria, and carefully monitored by other EU states, even by the world.

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