Voters in Austria’s presidential election Sunday sent a stern warning to the established parties that have ruled the country since World War II, making a populist, anti-immigrant candidate the front-runner. Preliminary results published by the Austrian interior ministry, which didn’t include mail-in ballots, showed that Norbert Hofer, from the anti-immigrant Freedom Party, which is known by its German initials FPÖ, with 36.4% of the vote. Alexander Van der Bellen, a 72-year-old economist and former spokesman for the Greens who took a pro-refugee stance during the campaign, secured nearly 20.4% of the vote, according to the ministry. Mr. Van der Bellen, himself a child of refugee parents, is opposed to all restrictions on asylum seekers.
Candidates from the Social Democrats and Austrian People’s Party, which together form the current coalition government, each received around 11% of the vote.
Irmgard Griss, a retired president of the Austrian Supreme Court who ran as an independent in a bid to become the country’s first female president, received 18.5% of the vote, according to preliminary results.
Mr. Hofer and Mr. Van der Bellen will likely face each other in a runoff vote on May 22. Final results for the first round will be released on Monday. The Austrian president is a largely ceremonial figure, but the election has nevertheless attracted international attention