Thursday, August 25, 2016

Here comes AUXIT: Austrian election hinges on Brussels - with Eurosceptics SURGING ahead

 Auxit
THE AUSTRIAN presidential election looks to be decided by the country’s mixed views on the European Union (EU) - with the far-right, Eurosceptic candidate surging ahead. The run-off vote in October will pit two highly contrasting candidates against each other once again, following an initial vote in April and a first, annulled run-off vote in May. Former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen is running as an independent against Norbert Hofer, the candidate for the Freedom Party (FPO) - a Eurosceptic, anti-immigrant party that is gaining ground in the country. While Mr Van der Bellen won the first run-off, the FPO successfully appealed the decision following accusations of voters fraud. Mr Hofer had received 51.9 per cent of the initial result, not counting absentee votes - a total that was described as a “political earthquake”.However, after counting absentee votes for a the final total, Mr Van der Bellen edged in front with a controversial 50.3 per cent victory. Following a two week hearing, the country’s Constitutional Court found postal ballots were illegally handled in 94 of 117 districts. With the second run-off vote fast approaching, both sides are now planting their flags on either side of the EU divide - with the anti-EU approach seeming the be working in the FPO’s favour.With just weeks to go, the FPO are leading Mr Van der Bellen in the presidential polls. More importantly, the party are also polling first ahead of a parliamentary election to be held by 2018. Despite this, the former Greens leader is still strongly opposing a potential vote for Austria to leave the 28-country bloc - an Auxit, otherwise known as Oexit.Mr Van der Bellen said yesterday: “It's my firm conviction that any talk, even if just talk, speculating about the so-called Oexit is already harmful.” He said after his victory in May, which was later invalidated, he “received several spontaneous calls from Brussels and other capitals”.He said: “In English, one would say that a sigh of relief went through Europe.”
 express

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