The Constitutional Court has overturned Austria’s presidential election results on Friday. Now Austria has another chance to become the first state with the far-right head in the EU.
As it is known, the former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen beat his opponent, Norbert Hofer of the anti-immigration and anti-EU Freedom Party (FPO), in the second round. Norbert Hofer lost to Bellen by less than one percentage point, or around 31,000 votes. The election was held on May 22.
However, Norbert Hofer filed a protest against the election at the Constitutional Court. The court found irregularities in ballot counting – counts had been carried out in the absence of party observers, because officials were racing to get a result as soon as possible. At the same time the court found no proof that the result had been manipulated.
The irregularities that have come to light during testimony to the Constitutional Court have dismayed the Austrian public, the Reuters reported.
‘There was sloppiness,’ Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka, whose ministry was accused by several witnesses of putting pressure on officials to provide a fast count of ballots, said.
As result, the court ordered a do-over of the presidential runoff. It was the first time Austria had ordered a rerun of a national election since 1945, when the Nazis were defeated.
Now a date for the re-run must be set by the centrist coalition government. According to the current President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, who will leave his post on July 8, the vote re-run will most likely be in the autumn.