Austria’s far-right candidate Norbert Hofer concedes defeate to Alexander Van der Bellen in presidential election

Austria has rejected the possibility of the EU getting its first far-right head of state with the defeat of far-right candidate Norbert Hofer in the presidential election, instead electing Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the Green Party.

Austria’s far-right candidate Norbert Hofer concedes defeate to Alexander Van der Bellen in presidential election

Austria has rejected the possibility of the EU getting its first far-right head of state with the defeat of far-right candidate Norbert Hofer in the presidential election, instead electing Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the Green Party.

Even though the post of president in Austria is ceremonial, the election was seen as a sign of how well populist candidates might do elsewhere in Europe.



Alexander Van der Bellen, who ran as an independent he would be an “open-minded, liberal-minded and above all a pro-European president”. 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.”

Van der Bellen called the result a vote for a "pro-European" Austria based on "freedom, equality and solidarity". Referring to the Austrian flag, he said a "red-white-red signal of hope and change, a red-white-red signal today goes from Austria to all the capitals of the European Union. Finally, you know, I will try to be an open-minded, a liberal-minded and first of all a pro-European federal president of the Republic of Austria."


Van der Bellen said the election had not just been a repeat, but a new election after the world around us has changed with the Brexit vote in June and Donald Trump’s win in November.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, said: “After the Trump victory and the Brexit vote, Austria’s voters have shown that reason, tolerance and humanity are not foreign concepts for elections in the European Union. The result of the vote is good for Austria’s reputation and the values of the EU.”