Populist Hofer Loses Austrian Presidential Election
Populist candidate Norbert Hofer admitted defeat Sunday after exit polls showed a clear victory for former Green Party leader Alexander van der Bellen.
The election was considered a dead heat when Austrians hit the polls Sunday. Several exit polls gave van der Bellen a seven-point edge, which led to Hofer to concede defeat before any official results had been announced.
“You have given me such great support, and I am incredibly sad that it didn’t work out,” Hofer wrote on his Facebook page. “I would have liked to watch over our Austria.”
The presidency is purely a ceremonial position in Austria. The election was still highly anticipated as a test for the populist movement in Europe following Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election.
Van der Bellen was originally pronounced winner in May following a narrow victory. Austria’s highest court annulled the results after “illegal and improper” handling of postal votes were discovered weeks later. (RELATED: Austrian Presidential Election Was Rigged)
Hofer openly opposes Muslim immigration and is skeptical of the European Union. He also carried a Glock handgun on the campaign trail in an effort to get Austrians to protect themselves.
Freedom Party members considered the election a huge step in the right direction despite the defeat.
“As a lone party against the Social Democrats, the Popular Party, the Greens, and others, and the establishment media, we still took 2.2 million votes,” Anton Mahdalik, a Freedom Party member of the Vienna city council, said after Hofer conceded, according to The Telegraph.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.