Austria’s president hopes for reelection without the need of runoff

VIENNA (AP) — Austria&#8217s liberal president is hoping to be reelected on Sunday devoid of the have to have for a runoff vote just after a campaign in which he has forged himself as the secure selection in uncertain instances.

President Alexander Van der Bellen, 78, is trying to find a second phrase after a 1st 6 decades in which a succession of domestic political crises has presented the head of state unusually substantial visibility in a part that is generally mostly ceremonial.

Approximately 6.4 million men and women in the Alpine nation are eligible to vote in Sunday&#8217s election.

Polls have shown a large direct for Van der Bellen, who has the implicit or explicit backing of Austria&#8217s mainstream events. The primary dilemma is irrespective of whether he will win outright in the very first spherical or irrespective of whether a runoff will be required from the next-placed applicant on Nov. 6.

Of the functions in parliament, only the much-correct Freedom Occasion has fielded a applicant in opposition to him — Walter Rosenkranz, a law firm who is the previous chief of its parliamentary team.

In 2016, Van der Bellen defeat a extra popular Liberty Get together prospect, Norbert Hofer, by 53.8% to 46.2% in a runoff that was rerun on the orders of Austria&#8217s Constitutional Courtroom.

Hofer&#8217s bash had claimed widespread voting irregularities in the original runoff months before that Van der Bellen received by a whisker. The vote was intently viewed in a 12 months that created the Brexit vote in the U.K. and Donald Trump’s election in the United States.

There&#8217s no indicator of any these drama this time. Impression polling in new months has continuously put Van der Bellen higher than the 50% mark he requires to prevent a runoff.

“If items go very well, I’m heading to get much more votes than all 6 of my opponents blended,” he reported this week. “If I do not get my desire, effectively, then I’ll just gain 4 weeks afterwards. … I never want that. I want to gain this Sunday.”

Other candidates include the left-leaning, satirical Beer Party’s Dominik Wlazny, acknowledged as Marco Pogo, as perfectly as a handful of proper-wing and conspiracy-minded candidates, these types of as Michael Brunner of the anti-coronavirus restriction celebration Persons Independence Essential Legal rights and Gerald Grosz, a former leader of the now-defunct considerably-right occasion Alliance for the Future of Austria.

The Liberty Get together has capitalized on inflation and increasing strength costs to make modest poll gains in new months. But it is been not able to pose the potent obstacle that Hofer did.

Modern campaign posters for Van der Bellen, who hails from the environmentalist Eco-friendly occasion but is jogging as an impartial, showcased the slogan “The Harmless Alternative in Stormy Times.”

Austria has confronted political disruptions in recent several years, going via five chancellors in the course of Van der Bellen&#8217s first expression.

Soon after conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s governing coalition with the Flexibility Party collapsed in scandal in 2019, the president appointed an interim Cabinet of non-partisan professionals less than Brigitte Bierlein, then the head of the Constitutional Court.

Austria’s major politicians trooped in and out of Van der Bellen’s Hofburg palace once again last 12 months just after Kurz, who had returned in a new authorities with the Greens, resigned. The country had three chancellors in two months, with Kurz’s successor, Alexander Schallenberg, supplying way in just months to current Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

Early election projections need to be out there shortly following the polls shut at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) Sunday, with a preliminary final result anticipated Sunday night. Postal ballots will be counted on Monday.


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