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Strache tries to woo Austrian Serbs to vote for Hofer

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Strache tries to woo Austrian Serbs to vote for Hofer
One of Hofer's election posters. Photo: Paul Gillingwater
09:35 CET+01:00
The leader of Austria's right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ), Heinz Christian Strache, is urging Austrian citizens of Serbian descent to vote for the FPÖ's Norbert Hofer in the presidential election on December 4th.

According to the Serbian newspaper Danas, Strache said the FPÖ would welcome the support of Austrian Serbs, of whom there are an estimated 70,000.

Speaking in Belgrade, Strache said that the FPÖ supports the concept of a Europe held together by its Christian foundations and that if Austrian-Serbs do not want to see the Islamization of Europe, they should vote for Hofer.

Austria's highest court annulled the original presidential election result from May after upholding the narrowly defeated FPÖ's claims of procedural irregularities.

The decision has given 45-year-old Norbert Hofer another stab at winning the election, which he lost in May by just 31,000 votes to independent ecologist Alexander Van der Bellen, 72.

Danas said it was difficult to say whether Austrian-Serbs favoured Hofer over Van der Bellen.

Hofer plans to visit Belgrade on November 8th, and meet with President Tomislav Nikolic.

According to Danas, Nikolic and Strache have been friendly for years, dating back to the time when the now Serbian president was vice-chairman of the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party of Vojislav Seselj (until mid-2008). Strache said that Hofer's visit will be about "deepening this friendship".

If he emerges victorious this time, Hofer would become Europe's first far-right head of state since 1945. Latest polls show the rivals neck-and-neck.

 

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