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Expert predicts far-right to win Austrian election
Photo: Facebook/Norbert Hofer

Expert predicts far-right to win Austrian election

The Local · 29 Aug 2016, 10:57

Published: 29 Aug 2016 10:57 GMT+02:00

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The independent but Green-backed candidate Alexander van der Bellen had narrowly beaten his opponent Norbert Hofer, from the far-right Freedom Party, in May but the election was recalled after a court found discrepancies in the counting of votes.

Nearly a month before Austrians once again take to the polls a survey commissioned by the Kurier newspaper and carried out by researchers OGM found that the majority of Austrians (55%) agreed that the election re-run was “justified”.

Ninety-one of respondents were either “very certain” (75%) or “nearly certain” (16%) they would vote in the second round.

According to the head of OGM Wolfgang Bachmayer, swing voters will play a deciding role.

“Swing voters are still 15 percent undecided about who to vote for. And six percent want to vote for the other candidate,” said Head of OGM Wolfgang Bachmayer.

He added that Van der Bellen must once again secure the support of these swing voters, whose support for him last time led to him securing a marginal lead over Hofer.

This survey follows an earlier one from Österreich newspaper which suggested Hofer would win the second election by a few percentage points.

In the Kurier survey, around 38% of respondents think Hofer will come out top while 34% say Van der Bellen will win - 28% said they did not know.

Bachmayer also believes that Hofer will come first on the day due to “the ongoing and intensifying refugee, integration and security discussions - from the attacks in Nice to the remarks from [politicians] Kern, Kurz and Doskozil”.

Following the UK's decision to leave the European Union, however, the EU rather than refugees has been one of the main debating points between the candidates this summer. 

Historically EU-sceptics, the Freedom Party generally support the idea that Austria should get to vote on its membership.

Story continues below…

"If the EU develops in the wrong way, instead of returning to its actual basic values, if it becomes more centralised, and if Turkey joins, then for me it would be time to say that Austrians must also be asked (about membership)," Hofer said after the "Brexit" vote.

Pro-EU Van der Bellen has criticised the Freedom Party on their stance and accused them of "playing with fire" over the issue.

According to a survey carried out by Österreich newspaper earlier this year, around 50% of Austrians are against leaving the EU and only 30% are in favour.

The Freedom Party leader Heinz Christian Strache attempted to soften his party's position on the EU in July, saying: "Are we an EU-exit party? We are not and have never been that."


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