We're on the move! Austrian Freedom Party presidential candidate Hofer wins big in first round

Published by carolyn on Sun, 2016-04-24 20:24

Norbert Hofer, presidential candidate of the "right-wing populist" FPÖ [Austrian Freedom Party led by Heinz-Christian Strache] has won over 36 percent of the vote in a five-way contest that included the major parties!

Exit polls show that the two candidates nominated by the ruling parties failed to even make it to the runoff to be held May 22. This is the first time since 1945 that Austria's president will not come from the Social Democrats (SPOe) or the center-right People's Party (OeVP). Both party's candidates won only around 11 percent.

Independent Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, 72 (pictured right) did manage to advance to the second and final round with 21 percent of the vote. The independent candidate from the bourgeois NEOS Irmgard Griss got 18.5 percent of the vote.

It is a turning point in Austrian politics, with the best-ever performance for the Freedom Party at the federal level since its creation after World War II.

"Like elsewhere in Europe, we are witnessing the downfall of the traditional parties," political analyst Peter Hajek told the AFP news agency.

Around 70% of eligible voters cast their ballots, a big turnout compared with around 50% six years ago when Social Democrat Heinz Fischer, now 77, was elected for his second term. He could not run for a third term

However it's far from over, as it's certain the losing parties will join forces to support Van der Bellen in the May 22 runoff as was done against Marine Le Pen in France recently. Fierce competition in in store for Norbert Hofer and the FPÖ. In a report last week, Deutche Welle said of him:

Norbert Hofer packs a Glock - sometimes even when he is going about his work as a member of parliament - because, he says, he is afraid of refugees.

He wants Austria to leave the EU, demands a ban on head scarves for women and he would kick all foreigners out of the country's social system.

Hofer, 45, stands a chance of being Austria's next president.

Of course, they are deathly afraid of him. All stops will be pulled out to defeat him. It's up to the people of Austria to follow through with courage in one month. Will they do it? He's certainly the most attractive candidate.


In reaction to [Norbert Hofer's winning 1/3 of the vote], Germany's "heute-show", a popular late-night satirical TV program, posted a photo on its website showing a crisp schnitzel in the form of a swastika.

"What's your problem, dear neighbors?" the caption reads. The text in the photo adds "Austrians like to vote for what resembles their schnitzel: as flat and brown as possible."

According to German and Austrian media reports, the prosecutor's office in Mainz received two complaints in the matter, one from a German individual and one from an Austrian law student. The student is reported to have drawn on Germany's rarely enforced paragraph 103 of the criminal code - insulting organs or representatives of foreign states - which carries up to five years in prison.


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