Austria votes to elect its president, outgoing environmentalist Van der Bellen is the favourite

Election poster for the incumbent president on October 3, 2022 in Vienna.

Austrians began voting on Sunday (October 9) in a presidential election expected to reappoint outgoing Green President Alexander Van der Bellen, seen as a symbol of stability as the EU member state faces an energy crisis and inflation.

Backed by a broad spectrum of the political class, he gets more than 50% of the vote in the polls and appears to be winning in the first round against six opponents, all men.

“The biggest competitor on Sunday will be the bank”the 78-year-old head of state joked Friday at the end of the campaign in front of his supporters. “If you care about liberal democracy, go vote. »

The decline of the extreme right

The far-right FPÖ party, which almost won against him in 2016, would like to play the match again. But his candidate is little known: Walter Rosenkranz, 60, would get just 15% of the vote, against the tide of recent elections in Sweden and Italy.

Corruption cases have lost ground to the far right in Austria, which was the first in Europe to come close to victory in the presidential elections six years ago. Founded by former Nazis, the FPÖ finally tilted by more than 46% of the vote, after a vote with twists and turns.

When the party subsequently came into government by forming a coalition with the young Sebastian Kurz’s conservatives, it had to leave power in 2019 after an incredible scandal and has never regained its faded glory since.

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Voting ends at 5 p.m.

Faced with this turmoil and the succession of chancellors, Alexander Van der Bellen, with the traditionally embodied function of guaranteeing protocol, ensured the continuity of the state. This pro-European also continues for “integrated” according to Julia Parteymüller, from the University of Vienna, that is ” much appreciated “ compared with “multiple crises facing many European countries”.

The portrait (in 2016): Article reserved for our subscribers Van der Bellen, a “little refugee” who has become a bulwark against the far right in Austria

In the Alpine country of 9 million inhabitants, 6.4 million voters – including the Austrian-American Arnold Schwarzenegger, the great supporter of the president – are called upon to vote for a six-year term. Polling stations opened at 7am and close at 5pm, when exit polls are expected.

The world with AFP