Austrian president secures re-election with clear win, avoiding runoff – Times of India
The 78-year-old former leader of the Greens has garnered broad popularity by projecting calm during times of national crisis, including the collapse of the government in 2019 and the resignation of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz a year ago over corruption allegations that Kurz denies.
The far-right Freedom Party (FPO) was the only party in parliament to field a candidate against Van der Bellen, who won a much tighter race against an FPO opponent in 2016. Grandees from all other parties in parliament backed the president.
A projection by pollster SORA for national broadcaster ORF, based on a partial count of 83% of votes cast on Sunday, put Van der Bellen on 56.2% with a margin of error of 1.4 percentage points. His nearest rival was the Freedom Party’s Walter Rosenkranz on 17.8%.
“Alexander Van der Bellen really managed to ensure in the first round that he will be the next president. I congratulate him on that,” Rosenkranz told ORF
Election night projections in Austria, issued after voting ends and based on the count from the polling stations that close earlier in the day, have proved reliable in the past. The last polling stations to close include those in the cities of Vienna and Innsbruck.
A separate projection by ARGE Wahlen for national news agency APA put Van der Bellen on 56.3% and Rosenkranz on 17.6%, based on a count of 71% of votes cast on Sunday.
Postal ballots will be counted on Monday but the projections are for the result as a whole, including postal ballots.
The Austrian president performs a largely ceremonial role, but also has sweeping powers that mean overseeing periods of transition and turbulence. The president is the commander in chef of the army and can sack the whole government or the chancellor.