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Van der Bellen says Austrian election victory sends pro-European message

Sunday, December 04, 2016 - 00:51

After winning Austria's presidential election, Alexander Van der Bellen says his victory sends a pro-European message. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The candidate vying to become Europe's first freely elected far-right head of state since World War Two conceded defeat in Austria's presidential election soon after polls closed on Sunday evening. The result is a blow to populists who had hoped a wave of anti-establishment anger sweeping Western democracies would carry Norbert Hofer to power after Britain's Brexit referendum and Americans' election of Donald Trump as president. Hofer, of the anti-immigration and anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPO), conceded he had been soundly beaten by former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen. "I am infinitely sad that it didn't work out," Hofer said in a posting on his Facebook page less than an hour after polls closed and the first projections were broadcast. Austria's president traditionally has a largely ceremonial role. But the election, a re-run of a May vote that was overturned due to counting irregularities, had been seen as another test of populist sentiment in Europe ahead of elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands next year. Voters may have heeded Van der Bellen's increasingly strident warnings that Hofer wanted to follow Britain's lead and pull Austria out of the European Union. Van der Bellen had a clear lead over Hofer, according to a projection by pollster SORA for broadcaster ORF that included a count of 69 percent of votes. The projection showed Van der Bellen on 53.3 percent and Hofer on 46.7 percent, with a margin of error of 1 percentage point.

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Van der Bellen says Austrian election victory sends pro-European message

Sunday, December 04, 2016 - 00:51