Austria

Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Austria.

Austria: Austria turns sharply to the right in an election shaped by immigration | The Washington Post

Austria became the latest European country to take a sharp turn right on Sunday, with the conservative People’s Party riding a hard-line position on immigration to victory in national elections and likely to form a government with a nationalist party that has long advocated for an even tougher stance. The result puts the 31-year-old foreign minister and People’s Party leader, Sebastian Kurz, in line to become Austria’s next chancellor after a campaign in which he emphasized the need to strengthen border controls, reduce caps on refugees and slash benefits for newcomers. Much of Kurz’s rhetoric echoed positions long held by the Freedom Party, which for decades has anchored the far right of politics in this nation of 8.7 million.

Full Article: Austria turns sharply to the right in an election shaped by immigration - The Washington Post.

Austria: Conservative Sebastian Kurz on track to become Austria’s next leader | The Guardian

The centre of political gravity in Austria shifted to the right after the conservative Austrian People’s party (ÖVP) came out top in national elections, making its 31-year-old leader, Sebastian Kurz, the youngest head of a government in the EU. Projections on Sunday night put the ÖVP ahead with 31.7% of the vote. The incumbent chancellor Christian Kern’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPÖ) were relegated to second place with 27% of the vote, while the far-right FPÖ took 25.9%, failing to match its best-ever result. For the first time in Austria’s history, the two rightwing parties both managed to increase their seats tally without taking votes off each other. The result represents a triumph for Kurz, who has turned around his party’s fortunes and said he was “overwhelmed” with the result, vowing to introduce to the country a “new political culture” of togetherness under his leadership.

Full Article: Conservative Sebastian Kurz on track to become Austria’s next leader | World news | The Guardian.

Austria: Populists expect to be kingmakers as politics takes turn to right | The Guardian

Austrian politics is set to tip to the right less than a year after averting a far-right presidency by the populist Freedom party , with the party on course to emerge as coalition kingmaker in Sunday’s national elections. Though currently fighting for second place behind 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz of the centre-right Austrian People’s party (ÖVP), the Freedom party has managed to dictate the agenda of a campaign centred largely around immigration and fears of radical Islam, and will receive a last-stretch boost from a “dirty campaigning” row between the traditional centre parties. Neither Kurz nor incumbent chancellor Christian Kern of the centre-left SPÖ have ruled out entering a coalition with the Freedom party, whose current leader Heinz-Christian Strache could become the first European politician with a neo-Nazi background to sit in government since the second world war.

Full Article: Austrian populists expect to be kingmakers as politics takes turn to right | World news | The Guardian.

Austria: Social Democrats urge Facebook to unmask people behind smear campaign | Rueters

Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats asked Facebook to disclose the identities of those behind sites which they say are spreading libel in an attempt to clean up a smear campaign scandal ahead of an election on Oct. 15. Kern has pledged to get to the bottom of his party’s links to Facebook pages which have made unsusbtantiated allegations against Sebastian Kurz, the head of the main opposition People’s Party, who is leading in polls for the forthcoming parliamentary vote. The scandal has already cost Kern’s campaign manager his job. The Social Democrats’ lawyers wrote to Facebook in Ireland on Tuesday saying the group must, according to EU rules, hand over details about users who operate sites showing potentially libellous content about Kern and Kurz.

Full Article: Austria's Social Democrats urge Facebook to unmask people behind smear campaign.

Austria: October election called, far-right FPO could enter government | Reuters

Austria’s main parties agreed to hold an early parliamentary election on October 15, Chancellor Christian Kern said on Tuesday, in a vote that might bring the far-right Freedom Party into government. In the autumn of a year that will have seen Dutch, French, British and German general elections, the Alpine republic will decide its future course on immigration, labor and social policy and its position within the European Union. “We have agreed on Oct. 15 (for parliamentary elections),” Kern said after meeting leaders of all parliamentary parties. The next election was originally due to be held in autumn 2018.

Full Article: Austria calls October election, far-right FPO could enter government | Reuters.

Austria: Coalition collapse opens way to far-right election challenge | Financial Times

Austria’s government coalition collapsed on Friday, almost certainly paving the way for elections in the autumn, when one of Europe’s longest-established far-right populist parties could win the largest share of the vote. Sebastian Kurz, foreign minister, in effect tore up a coalition deal between his centre-right People’s party and chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats by demanding an early national vote. His decision reflected widespread disenchantment with the “grand coalition,” which has failed so far to reverse Austria’s economic underperformance — although the country remains among the most affluent in Europe.

Full Article: Austrian coalition collapse opens way to far-right election challenge.

Austria: Voters reject far-right candidate Norbert Hofer in presidential election | The Guardian

Austria has decisively rejected the possibility of the EU getting its first far-right head of state, instead electing a former leader of the Green party who said he would be an “open-minded, liberal-minded and above all a pro-European president”. Alexander Van der Bellen, who ran as an independent, increased his lead over the far-right Freedom party candidate, Norbert Hofer, by a considerable margin from the original vote in May, which was annulled by the constitutional court due to voting irregularities. Hofer conceded his defeat within less than half an hour of the first exit polls on Sunday, writing on Facebook: “I congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen for his success and ask all Austrians to pull together and work together.” The 45-year-old, who said he was “endlessly sad” and “would have liked to look after Austria”, confirmed that he would like to run again for the presidency in six years’ time. The Freedom party secretary, Herbert Kickl, who has acted as Hofer’s campaign manager, said: “The bottom line is it didn’t quite work out. In this case the establishment – which pitched in once again to block, to stonewall and to prevent renewal – has won.”

Full Article: Austria rejects far-right candidate Norbert Hofer in presidential election | World news | The Guardian.

Austria: Vying for Their Own Election Upset, Austrian Populists Forge Ties to Trump Allies | Wall Street Journal

Senior politicians from Austria’s anti-immigrant Freedom Party celebrated the upset victory of Donald Trump at an election-night party in Trump Tower in New York. This Sunday, when their nation goes to the polls, they will be hoping for an improbable presidency of their own. Mr. Trump’s win has energized populist politicians across Europe who echo his criticism of immigration, free trade and international institutions and calls for improved ties with Russia. But nowhere, perhaps, is the jubilation as great as in Austria, where the Freedom Party now sees years of quiet efforts to establish ties with conservative Republicans in the U.S. paying off just as its own candidate stands on the verge of the Austrian presidency. The party’s Norbert Hofer is running neck-and-neck with center-left candidate Alexander Van der Bellen in the polls ahead of Austria’s runoff presidential election on Sunday. Mr. Hofer’s victory would give the Freedom Party—long ostracized for its xenophobic rhetoric and past links to former Nazis—the Austrian presidency for the first time.

Full Article: Vying for Their Own Election Upset, Austrian Populists Forge Ties to Trump Allies - WSJ.

Austria: Interior Minister says no further delay to December 4 election, dismisses ballot scare | Reuters

Austria said on Tuesday there was no reason to delay again its presidential election due on Dec. 4 after newspapers reported it was possible to order postal ballots online using fake passport numbers. A new flaw in the electoral system would be a major embarrassment. A re-run of the presidential run-off held in May was already ordered because rules on ballot-counting were broken, which in turn was postponed because of faulty envelopes. Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka, however, said there was no reason for yet another delay of the re-run between the far-right Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer and former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen. Having narrowly lost the neck-and-neck contest in May, Hofer could become the European Union’s first far-right head of state. The post is largely ceremonial but the president heads the armed forces and can play an important role in the formation of coalition governments. Asked if there was any reason to postpone the vote, Sobotka said: “No, absolutely certainly not.”

Full Article: Austria says no further delay to December 4 election, dismisses ballot scare | Reuters.

Austria: Election may come unstuck over glue problem on postal votes | The Guardian

Austria’s rerun presidential election, scheduled for 2 October, may be postponed on technical grounds because of problems with glue on postal votes coming unstuck, the country’s interior ministry has said. The election was originally held in May but the constitutional court ordered a repeat poll after the far-right Freedom party (FPO) successfully challenged the result due to procedural irregularities. The FPO candidate, Norbert Hofer, narrowly lost that vote to the former Green party leader Alexander Van der Bellen, who was running as an independent. Hofer has led in recent opinion polls. “If an apparent failure in production makes it impossible to properly conduct the election, then it is my duty as the highest-ranking executive of the electoral authority to immediately consider a postponement,” the interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka, said in an emailed statement. An interior ministry spokeswoman said a decision was expected early next week.

Full Article: Austrian election may come unstuck over glue problem on postal votes | World news | The Guardian.

Austria: Presidential vote postponed due to faulty ballots | The Washington Post

A second attempt this year to elect Austria’s president was postponed Monday when the country’s interior minister said envelopes of absentee ballots frequently couldn’t be sealed due to faulty adhesive strips. The delay must be formalized through a still-to-be-created law. But in asking the government to draft such legislation, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka effectively canceled plans to hold the vote Oct. 2. The presidency originally was to have been filled in July, after left-leaning contender Alexander Van der Bellen edged out Norbert Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party. But the country’s highest court ordered a rerun after the Freedom Party claimed major irregularities. The court decision was seen as a victory for the Freedom Party, giving it more time to exploit widespread anti-migrant sentiment in favor of its candidate. Recent polls have given Hofer a 4 to 6 percentage-point edge over Van der Bellen.

Full Article: Austria postpones presidential vote due to faulty ballots - The Washington Post.

Austria: Interior ministry could postpone new presidential vote | Reuters

Austria’s Interior Ministry said on Friday it was considering postponing the re-run of a presidential election that is scheduled for Oct. 2 on technical grounds after ballot papers for postal voting turned out to be damaged. The election was originally held in May but the Constitutional Court ordered a repeat poll after the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) successfully challenged the result. Its candidate Norbert Hofer narrowly lost that vote to former Green Party leader Alexander Van der Bellen but has led in recent opinion polls.

Full Article: Austria's interior ministry could postpone new presidential vote | Reuters.

Austria: Far-right candidate bets on old recipe for presidency success | Reuters

Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPO) kicked off its campaign for president on Wednesday with the slogan “Power needs control”, seeking to get its candidate Norbert Hofer elected on a promise of toughness after concerns over Europe’s migrant crisis. The FPO successfully challenged the result of a runoff vote in May that Hofer narrowly lost against former Green Party leader Alexander Van der Bellen. The Constitutional Court ordered a re-run, which will take place on Oct 2. Hofer’s slogan is the same as that which in 1992 ensured victory for the current president’s predecessor, Thomas Klestil from the conservative People’s Party (OVP). Back then the OVP and the Social Democrats were mass parties, but Austrians’ anger about their shared politics built up. Since then the Austrians have become so upset with the two parties that both parties’ presidential candidates failed to make it the presidential run-off.

Full Article: Austria's far-right candidate bets on old recipe for presidency success | Reuters.

Austria: Austrian election sets Europe’s nerves on edge | EU Observer

The decision by Austria’s Constitutional Court to annul the outcome of the May presidential election has unsettled pro-European officials and politicians across the EU who fear that, after Britain, Austria could be the next country to turn its back on the European Union.
The rerun of the second round, which will be held on 2 October, has revived the spectre of an elected far right head of state in Europe for the first time since the Second World War. In May, the EU-sceptic and far-right candidate Norbert Hofer lost by less than a percentage point to the pro-EU Green Party-aligned contender Alexander van der Bellen. With national elections coming up next year in the Netherlands and France, where far-right parties pose a significant challenge, all eyes will be on the outcome in Austria.

Full Article: Austrian election sets Europe's nerves on edge.

Austria: Austria to re-run presidential vote on October 2 in shadow of Brexit | Reuters

Austria will re-run a presidential election run-off on Oct. 2, giving far-right eurosceptic candidate Norbert Hofer the chance to reverse a wafer-thin defeat, this time in the shadow of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Hofer and his FPO (Freedom Party) have already raised the prospect of Austria holding a similar referendum, yet political analysts say the tactic risks foundering on a deep bedrock of support for European integration. Hofer, 45, lost out in May by just 31,000 votes to pro-European former Green Party leader Alexander Van der Bellen, 72, narrowly failing to become the EU’s first far-right head of state. But Austria’s highest court annulled the vote, finding that sloppiness in the count, while not intended to manipulate any votes, had potentially been serious enough to change the outcome, and required a re-run.

Full Article: Austria to re-run presidential vote on October 2 in shadow of Brexit | Reuters.

Austria: In Liberal Vienna, Youth Fear Austria’s Presidential Re-run | VoA News

In the fall of 2015, the international news was flooded with pictures of an Austrian train station where volunteers welcomed refugees with food, clothing and games for children. Almost a year later, the train station now welcomes commuters and tourists. Media coverage focuses on a growing anti-immigration political movement poised to take another crack at the Austrian presidency. At a quiet park in Vienna, Jesse de Pagter, a 23-year-old philosophy student from the Netherlands, said the outpouring of sympathy for refugees may have been a catalyst for an outpouring of intolerance. “It may have been the positive image that made the contrary true,” he said. “It’s an image of a divided country.” On Friday, an Austrian court canceled the results of the country’s May presidential elections, citing widespread rule breaking. The re-vote, scheduled for the fall, essentially gives Austria’s Freedom Party candidate, Norbert Hofer, another chance at becoming the European Union’s first far-right head of state.

Full Article: In Liberal Vienna, Youth Fear Austria’s Presidential Re-run.

Austria: Presidential election result overturned and must be held again | The Guardian

Austria’s Freedom party will get another go at providing the first far-right president in the European Union, after the country’s constitutional court annulled the result of May’s presidential election. The court president, Gerhart Holzinger, announced on Friday that the run-off vote, in which Norbert Hofer of the Freedom party (FPÖ) narrowly lost to Green-backed Alexander Van der Bellen, would have to be repeated across the whole country after an investigation revealed irregularities in the count of the vote in several constituencies. The unprecedented ruling comes a week before Van der Bellen was due to be sworn into office. Hofer had lost out to his rival in a knife-edge election on 22 May by only 30,863 votes. While the Austrian presidency is a largely ceremonial role, the outcome has been seen as hugely symbolic, with the Freedom party seemingly buoyed by growing anti-refugee sentiment and disaffection with the country’s political establishment.

Hofer’s comment in a TV debate that “you will be surprised by what can be done [by a president]” had given rise to fears that the soft-spoken 45-year-old could make use of powers to dissolve parliament once in office.

Having previously appealed for Britain to reform the European Union from within, Hofer last week called for Austria to have its own referendum on EU membership if the alliance of states was to take further steps towards “a centralised union”. “If the union develops incorrectly, then that is the moment for me where one needs to say: now we have to ask the Austrians as well,” Hofer said in an interview with Österreich.

The Freedom party contested the outcome of May’s vote after claiming to have detected formal irregularities in 94 out of 117 constituencies, submitting a 150-page formal complaint to the constitutional court.

 

Full Article: Austrian presidential election result overturned and must be held again | World news | The Guardian.

Full Article: Austrian presidential election result overturned and must be held again | World news | The Guardian.

Austria: Top Austrian court annuls presidential election result | Deutsche Welle

Austria’s constitutional court annulled May’s president election on Friday, upholding a legal challenge by the anti-immigation Freedom party (FPÖ) and opening the way for a repeat poll in September or October. “The challenge brought by Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache against the May 22 election… has been upheld,” said constitutional court head Gerhard Holzinger. The court said it was using its strict standard on the application of election rules. Final results on May’s election – after a count of absentee ballots – had put former Green party politician Alexander Van der Bellen ahead by little more than 30,000 votes. The margin of presumed victory was less than one percentage point – out of the 4.6 million ballots cast. Norbert Hofer of the FPÖ had come top in a first round in April.

Full Article: Top Austrian court annuls presidential election result | Breaking News | DW.COM | 01.07.2016.

Austria: Court to rule Friday on far-right election challenge | AFP

Austria’s Constitutional Court has said it will rule Friday on the challenge brought by the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) against its candidate’s narrow defeat in May’s presidential election. The court, which has heard from around 90 witnesses during two weeks of public hearings, said Thursday it would announce at noon (1000 GMT) whether the election result was valid or a new vote must be held. The FPOe’s Norbert Hofer, 54, topped the poll in the first round of the election in April but lost out to 72-year-old Alexander Van der Bellen, an independent backed by the Greens, by just 30,863 votes in the May 22 run-off.

Full Article: Austria court to rule Friday on far-right election challenge - Yahoo7.

Austria: Austria Might Stage Another Vote Much Sooner Than You Think | Bloomberg

Last month’s Austrian presidential election vaulted the country into the international spotlight after nationalist Norbert Hofer and Green politician Alexander Van der Bellen clashed in an acrimonious campaign that rang with the same divisive tones heard ahead of this week’s Brexit vote. After Van der Bellen won the May 22 duel by a whisker — the final count gave him 30,863 lead out of 4.5 million votes — Hofer’s Freedom Party began collecting reports alleging irregularities at the polls. On June 8 they contested the election result before nation’s Constitutional Court. On June 20 the court’s 14 judges began questioning 90 witnesses, mostly election officials and volunteers, in an unprecedented exercise to determine how votes had been counted. A verdict is expected before July 8 — incidentally the day when Van der Bellen is scheduled be inaugurated.

Full Article: Austria Might Stage Another Vote Much Sooner Than You Think: Q&A - Bloomberg.