Austrian court orders rerun of presidential election

Alexander Van der Bellen (left) of Austrian Greens and Norbert Hofer of Austrian Freedom party (FPOe). Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Alexander Van der Bellen (left) of Austrian Greens and Norbert Hofer of Austrian Freedom party (FPOe). Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Austria’s highest court has ruled that presidential elections narrowly lost by a right-wing candidate must be repeated after his party claimed gross irregularities in the absentee vote count.

Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer was leading after polls closed on May 22, but final results after a count of absentee ballots put former Green Party politician Alexander Van der Bellen ahead by only a little more than 30,000 votes.

The final count showed Mr Van der Bellen won 50.3% of the vote, compared with 49.7% for Mr Hofer.

The Freedom Party said the law was contravened in one way or another in most of the 117 electoral districts, including the sorting of absentee ballots before electoral commission officials arrived.

The rerun is expected to be held in September or October.

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