The far-right Freedom Party of Austria filed a legal challenge on Wednesday over the results of the country’s presidential election, disputing the outcome of the May 22 runoff, in which the party’s candidate, Norbert Hofer, was narrowly defeated. Officials said there was no precedent for a challenge to the outcome of a presidential election in the history of modern Austria, a federal republic that was reconstituted in 1945 from the ashes of Nazi Germany, which annexed the country in 1938. The challenge, submitted by the party’s chairman to the Constitutional Court, injected an element of uncertainty into a debate that has already stirred questions over the strength of the far right in a nation with a fraught wartime past. Mr. Hofer led the first round of voting, on April 24, in which the country’s two mainstream parties were handed a humbling defeat.
The results were too close to call when polls closed at 5 p.m. on May 22; only after nearly 700,000 mail-in ballots were tallied was the result announced, midafternoon on May 23. Mr. Van der Bellen was declared the winner, with 50.35 percent of the vote and a very tight lead of 30,863 ballots, according to the Interior Ministry.
On Wednesday, the Freedom Party’s chairman, Heinz-Christian Strache, submitted 150 pages of documents to the Constitutional Court, claiming “numerous irregularities and failures” in the counting of the runoff votes. According to the Austrian news agency APA, Mr. Strache submitted three documents: one from himself, the second from Mr. Hofer and the third from “voters and citizens.”