Far-right anti-LGBT candidate Norbert Hofer has lost Austria’s presidential election
Far-right presidential runner Norbert Hofer has admitted defeat in Austria’s presidential election.
Hofer conceded victory to independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen after the first exit polls showed he was in an “unbeatable lead.”
New President Alexander Van der Bellen (Getty)
On Facebook, Hofer said he was “infinitely sad” and congratulated Alexander Van der Bellen on his victory.
Hofer’s campaign manager, Herbert Kickl, said: “The bottom line is it didn’t quite work out. In this case the establishment – which pitched in once again to block, to stonewall and to prevent renewal – has won.”
His loss comes with a wave of relief across Europe as his hopes of becoming the first far-right European head of state since Hitler were dashed.
Austria’s left-leaning candidate Van der Bellen, backed by the Green party, shot ahead in the presidential elections in the the first exit polls.
Van der Bellen took 53.6 percent of the votes, while Mr Hofer got 46.4 percent in the first set of exit polls.
The official result was not expected until Monday.
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Hofer, of the Freedom Part, had 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.
Hofer also put forward strict anti-immigration and Eurosceptic policies in the run up to the election.