Norbert Hofer will now have another chance to become the first nationalist head of state in an EU country, after having the election stolen from him earlier this year by less than one percent point due to large scale voter fraud. Austrian Constitutional Court investigation found postal ballots were illegally handled in 94 of 117 districts.
Mr Hofer received 51.9% 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, former leader of Greens, Alexander Van der Bellen, edged in front with a 50.3% victory.
The controversial win immediately aroused suspicions of voter fraud and the Freedom Party launched a thorough appeal.
Heinz-Christian Strache, leader of Austria’s Freedom Party, said at the time: “We have received numerous indications declared under oath. And I want to be clear that the extent of these discoveries is more than just shocking, and more than relevant.
“In 82 district polling stations, the absentee ballots were already sorted into votes to be included and not to be included before the arrival of the election committee.
“This affects no less than 573,275 absentee ballots. Of these, 31,814 were pre-screened as invalid. Here, suspicion is more than justified.”
The party also said they had proof of children and foreign citizens voting in the election.
Following a two week hearing, Gerhard Holzinger, head of the Constitutional Court, confirmed today: “The challenge brought by Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache against the 22 May election has been upheld.”
The investigation found postal ballots were illegally handled in 94 of 117 districts.
Mr Van der Bellen will now need to step down until the next election, which will be held in September or October.
While the Austrian president does not hold great authority and is more of a figurehead, the symbolic importance of the election has not been understated.
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