Austria’s far-right Freedom party (FPO) has challenged the results of last month’s presidential election, which its candidate narrowly lost, in a move that could tip the country into a constitutional crisis. The FPO is claiming numerous irregularities in the election on 22 May, particularly for the absentee vote count, Christian Neuwirth, a spokesman for the constitutional court, said. The FPO candidate, Norbert Hofer, lost to Alexander Van der Bellen, a retired economics professor backed by the Green party, by just 31,000 votes out of more than 4.6m ballots cast, and only after more than 700,000 postal ballots – about 10% of available votes – were taken into account.
The final count showed Van der Bellen with 50.3%, compared to 49.7% for Hofer.
The court challenge could result in at least a partial recount if the court rules in favour of the party, which had suggested it might contest the results shortly after they were announced.