Florian Bieber

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Alexander Van der Bellen celebrated with his supporters in Vienna on Sunday. Credit Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Following the Brexit referendum in June and the election of Donald J. Trump in November, Austria’s presidential election on Sunday was closely watched as an indicator of whether right-wing populists would continue their 2016 winning streak. For now, at least, they haven’t.

On Sunday, Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of Austria’s Green Party, defeated Norbert Hofer of the far-right Freedom Party. This was a rerun of an election held in May whose results were annulled by the constitutional court after complaints of voting irregularities. This time, Mr. Van der Bellen won by a far wider margin — nearly seven percentage points, compared with less than one in May — despite opinion polls and many observers’ predicting his defeat.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Monday afternoon, Austrian officials announced that voters had chosen Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the Green Party, as president, narrowly defeating Norbert Hofer of the far-right Freedom Party in one of Europe’s most closely watched elections in years.

It was a close call for Austria; Mr. Hofer would have been Europe’s first far-right head of state since World War II. But for the Freedom Party, there is victory in defeat: Not only did Mr. Hofer make it to the second round of voting, easily outpolling candidates from the center right and center left, but the result was down to the wire — he was ahead on Sunday night, before absentee votes were counted.…  Seguir leyendo »