Austrian election result ‘voided’ after narrow rejection of far-right anti-LGBT candidate
Austria’s Presidential election result has been thrown out – after the country very narrowly opted to elect a pro-gay Green President by a tiny margin over a far-right candidate.
In May, the country held a Presidential run-off election between Norbert Hofer, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, and independent Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen.
Just 0.2% had separated the pair with Hofer losing out, but the Freedom Party challenged on the basis that postal votes had been improperly handled.
Judge Gerhard Holzinger, head of the Constitutional Court, confirmed today the result would be cast out, requiring a fresh run-off.
The judge said: “The challenge brought by Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache against the 22 May election has been upheld.”
The new election is expected to be held in September or October.
Austria currently allows same-sex couples to register their partnerships – but does not recognise equal marriage.
The Freedom Party has an overtly anti-LGBT platform that aims to exclude homosexuals from the right to marry, as well as rolling back LGBT adoption rights.
Meanwhile, the Greens have repeatedly filed same-sex marriage legislation in the Austrian Parliament, though it has not attracted enough support from other parties.
Alexander Van der Bellen (Getty)
Hofer had held an early lead through the process and was projected to win by a small margin – but Van der Bellen pulled off a surprise turnaround, managing to swing the result on postal votes.
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The pair were separated by just 0.2% of the vote. With 4 million votes cast, Mr Van der Bellen pulled off a narrow victory by just 20,000 votes.
The President is largely a ceremonial role, but the contest has been livened up due to the outright rejection of mainstream politics – with neither of Austria’s main political parties making the run-off ballot.
Last year, a Green-backed bill on equal marriage was defeated by a vote of 110 to 26 in the Austrian Parliament.
Austrian drag artist and Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst has previously spoken about her frustration with her homeland.
She said: “I’m a human being and I have the same rights as everyone else, so I don’t need to discuss about that because it should be a common thing. So stop discussing, just make it equal.
“I don’t need a campaign, I just need decisions. I don’t need more time wasted. I’m not a politician, I don’t know how long it takes to make rights, but I’m one of thousands of thousands of people who are waiting.”