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Narrow defeat for far right in Austria election

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 01:25

Alexander van der Bellen has defeated the far right candidate in the Austrian presidential election and calls for unity in the country. Yiming Woo reports.

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Independent candidate Alexander van der Bellen has defeated his far right opponent by a narrow margin in Austria's presidential election. The former leader of a left wing party received 50.3 percent of the vote -- just 0.6 percent more than anti-immigration candidate Norbert Hofer. Many Austrians are unahppy with the two centrist parties who dominate politics and govern in coalition. (SOUNDBITE) (German) AUSTRIA'S PRESIDENT-ELECT, ALEXANDER VAN DER BELLEN, SAYING: "Obviously many people in this country feel they are not being seen or heard enough, or both. We'll need another culture of communication -- politics that doesn't focus so much on itself, or on publicity, but on the real issues -- real worries, fears and even anger of some people in this country." Hofer was widely touted to win before the final results were announced. Anti-immigration parties in Europe have surged in popularity over the past year on concerns over the influx of refugees and high unemployment. Although the post of president is largely ceremonial, Austria's traditional parties are relieved -- they came close but have avoided becoming the first European Union country to elect a far right head of state.

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Narrow defeat for far right in Austria election

Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 01:25