VIENNA, Rabi’I 5, 1438, — Alexander Van der Bellen, a left-leaning politician who preached moderation and tolerance, won Austria’s presidential election Sunday over right-wing populist Norbert Hofer, according to preliminary results that showed Van der Bellen convincingly ahead, dpa reported.
His accomplishment was greeted with congratulations by mainstream politicians in neighboring Germany. They and others in Europe had feared that Donald Trump’s win in the United States and the Brexit vote in Britain heralded a resurgence of populist sentiment across the continent.
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who heads Germany’s center-left Social Democrats, told the Bild newspaper: “A load has been taken off the mind of all of Europe.” He called the result “a clear victory for good sense against right-wing populism.”
Partial results tallied shortly the polls closed Sunday showed Van der Bellen with 53.3 percent of the vote and Hofer at 46.7 percent. While the margin may change when final results are in, Austrian officials said the results gave Van der Bellen an unbeatable lead.
Noting the outsize attention the election in Austria was receiving, Van der Bellen declared that “what happens here today has relevance for all of Europe,” as he cast his ballot.
Hofer conceded his loss in a Facebook posting.
Acknowledging that he was “endlessly sad” about his loss, Hofer added, “I would have been happy to take care of our Austria.” He urged voters of both camps to bury their differences and work together for Austria.
Source: Saudi Press Agency