The anti-immigrant extremist who was running for Austrian presidency in Sunday’s election [previously] was narrowly defeated by a candidate with no party affiliation.
From Deutsche Welle:
Europe came within a hair of having its first far-right head of state in the post-war era, but Austria’s Interior Minsiter Wolfgang Sobotka announced that right-wing Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer has lost the second round run-off election to Alexander van der Bellen after more than 700,000 absentee ballots were tabulated.
The margin of victory was 31,000 votes, out of more than 4.6 million ballots cast, with Van der Bellen winning 50.3 percent. Turnout was 72.7 percent.
But in conceding defeat, Hofer said Austria’s far-right would live to fight another day.
“Of course I am sad,” Hofer said on Facebook. “But please don’t be disheartened. The effort in this election campaign is not wasted, but is an investment for the future.”
UPDATE: Some more details, first from BBC News:
Although Mr Van der Bellen, 72, is officially independent, he led Austria’s Greens for a decade and some European Green politicians were hailing him as the world’s first elected Green head of state.
The campaign was fierce at times. Mr Van der Bellen said he did not want Austria to be led by a “populist right-wing, pan-Germanic fraternity member” and even urged voters “who don’t like me but perhaps like Hofer even less to vote for me”
In nine out of Austria’s 10 main cities Mr Van der Bellen came top, whereas Mr Hofer dominated the rural areas, the Austrian broadcaster ORF reported (in German).
Support for Mr Hofer was exceptionally strong among manual workers – nearly 90%. The vote for Mr Van der Bellen was much stronger among people with a university degree or other higher education qualifications.
Support for Mr Hofer among men was 60%, while among women it was 60% for Mr Van der Bellen.
A map [screencap] of the voting results on a county-scale basis from Der Standard, the national newspaper published in Vienna, strongly echoes U.S. presidential voting results, with Democratic votes concentrated in urban areas and Republicans capturing rural counties:
Finally, from the Guardian, a snapshot of a country divided:
Mirroring the rise of populist parties across Europe, the Freedom party exploited anti-EU and anti-immigrant sentiment amid the continent’s refugee crisis, leaving a deep split over the direction Austria should now take.
In a reflection of voters’ dissatisfaction with mainstream politics, the candidates of both the centre-left Social Democrats and conservative People’s party, which have dominated Austria’s politics since the second world war, were eliminated in the first round of voting in late April.
Werner Faymann, the social democratic chancellor, resigned earlier this month. Viennese coffee houses reportedly set aside separate areas for supporters of the rival candidates over fears of clashes.