Austria votes to elect its president, outgoing environmentalist Van der Bellen is the favorite

Austrians began voting on Sunday (October 9) for a presidential election that is expected to reappoint outgoing Green president Alexander Van der Bellen, seen as a symbol of stability as the EU member country grapples with an energy crisis and inflation.

Backed by a wide spectrum of the political class, he is credited with more than 50% of the vote in the polls and appears poised to win in the first round against six opponents, all men.

“The great competitor on Sunday will be the sofa”the 78-year-old head of state joked Friday at the end of the campaign in front of his supporters. “If you care about liberal democracy, go vote. »

The decline of the far right

The far-right party FPÖ, which almost beat him in 2016, would like to play the game again. But his candidate is little known: Walter Rosenkranz, 60, would collect only 15% of the vote, contrary to the recent elections in Sweden and Italy.

Corruption cases have lost ground to Austria’s far right, which was the first in Europe to come close to victory in a presidential election six years ago. Founded by ex-Nazis, the FPÖ ultimately lost with more than 46% of the vote, after a vote with twists and turns.

If the party later entered the government forming a coalition with the conservatives of the young Sebastian Kurz, it had to leave power in 2019 after an incredible scandal and since then it has never recovered its past glory.

read also Article reserved for our subscribers Sebastian Kurz: behind the scenes of the fall of the Austrian chancellor

Voting ends at 5 pm

Faced with these turbulences and the succession of chancellors, Alexander Van der Bellen, with the role traditionally embodied of ensuring protocol, guaranteed the continuity of the State. This Europeanist also goes through ” integrated “ according to Julia Partheymüller of the University of Vienna, who is ” much appreciated “ in comparison with “multiple crises facing many European countries”.

The portrait (in 2016): Article reserved for our subscribers Van der Bellen, a “little refugee” who has become a bulwark against the extreme right in Austria

In the Alpine country of 9 million inhabitants, 6.4 million voters – including the Austrian-American Arnold Schwarzenegger, a strong supporter of the president – are called to vote for a six-year term. Polling stations opened at 7 am and will close at 5 pm, when exit polls are expected.

The world with AFP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *