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france 24 Europe

Re-run of Austrian presidential vote postponed due to faulty ballots

© AFP archive | Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka attends a joint press conference with his German counterpart in Potsdam, eastern Germany, on April 29, 2016.

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-09-13

A re-run of Austria’s presidential election that was due to take place on October 2 has been postponed, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said on Monday.

“We are going to request that parliament approves a postponement of the election," Sobotka told reporters. Possible new dates are November 27 or December 4, he said.

The postponement came after some postal voters complained of faulty seals on ballot papers.

Austria has been without a president since July 8 when Heinz Fischer stepped down. He was replaced on an interim basis by the speaker of parliament and two deputy speakers.

The last election result from May was annulled after Austria's highest court in July upheld claims of procedural irregularities made by the narrowly defeated far-right.

That vote, a run-off after the first round in April, saw independent ecologist Alexander Van der Bellen beat Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPOe) by just 31,000 votes.

The FPOe has stoked concerns about recent record immigration, and should Hofer eventually win it would make Austria the first country in Europe since 1945 to elect a far-right president.

The role of the Austrian president is largely – but not entirely – ceremonial, and a victory by Hofer would be a major boost to Europe's other surging populist movements.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2016-09-12

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