Van Der Bellen wins Austria presidential elections

VIENNA, May 23 (KUNA) — Former Greens leader and independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen has won the second round of the Austrian Presidential elections, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner announced Monday.
Van Der Bellen collected 50.3 percent of the votes, compared to 49.7 percent for his rival Norbert Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party (FP), Mikl-Leither said in a statement.
The results were announced this afternoon after counting the postal ballots. Polling station results on Sunday gave Hofer a slender lead, but the results were too close to call.
However, the postal ballot tipped the balance back into Van der Bellen’s favor.
According to results on Sunday night, Hofer was at 50.1 percent, around 144,000 votes ahead of his challenger.
Van der Bellen’s final advantage was 31,026 votes. He won primarily due to support from Austria’s cities.
Even without the postal vote, Van der Bellen was ahead in all of Austria’s eight provincial capitals as well as in Vienna.
In Eisenstadt, capital of Burgenland province, the final result was shifted in Van der Bellen’s favor by the postal ballot.
Around 885,437 people registered for postal ballots, with 14 percent of the 6,382,507 people eligible to vote.
According to preliminary estimations, voter turnout was also higher than in the first round of elections on April 24th, reaching around 72.7 percent.
It is the first time in Austrian modern history that the President is not from any of the country’s top political parties such as the Social Democrats (SP) or the conservative People’s Party (VP).
The President of Austria has limited powers, which is a parliamentary republic.
However, the President appoints the country’s chancellor on the basis of results of parliamentary elections and offers him to form a cabinet. (end)

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