Austria’s Far-Right Candidate Concedes Defeat
By Emma Sin 12/5/16
The far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer conceded in Austria to his left-leaning opponent. The exit polls in the rerun election have Alexander Van der Bellen, Hofer’s opponent, receiving 53.6 percent of the vote.
The official results of the election aren’t expected until Sunday evening or Monday morning. Hofer’s announcement makes it so that Van der Bellen will assume the presidency in Austria however.
Austrian politics has a parliamentary representative democracy with a federal chancellor as the head of government and federal president as the head of state. The style of government that Austria has makes the president’s role more ceremonial. The election was still closely watched because of recent world-wide anti-establishment sentiments following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the election of President-elect Donald Trump in the US.
“I would have loved to look after Austria. I congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen to his success and ask all Austrians to stick together,” Hofer wrote in a concession statement that appeared on Facebook. He graciously accepted the results and reaffirmed that the people of Austria need to come together as one. “We are all Austrians, no matter what we decided today. Long live our home Austria.”
Hofer also commented to CNN that he was “very sad” about the election results because he wouldn’t be human without feeling some disappointment. Hofer now looks forward to “kicking back, relaxing with my wife and reading ‘The Old Man and the Sea.'”