Austria’s far right Freedom Party conceded defeat in a knife-edge second round presidential election. Both candidates from the ruling coalition government were knocked out in the first round.
CCTV’s Guy Henderson reports from Vienna.
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In his victory speech, Austria’s president-elect Alexander Van der Bellen called for unity. “There has been a lot of talk of divisions between left and right. But you should see us as all being the same. It’s two halves that make up Austria – one half is as important as the other,” he said.
For the candidate of the other half and supporters of the far-right Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer’s cries against multiculturalism and mass immigration connected with many Austrian voters, as did the resignation of Austria’s Chancellor Werner Faymann after seven and-a-half years in office.
Given this election’s razor-thin margin of victory, bridging differences is likely to remain difficult.
“Isolation is maybe not the right way now – but what is the alternative If you have a party that lives with xenophobia – that pretends to racism – that hates the European Union and blames them for all the problems we have in Austria “, Phillipp Mittnik, political analyst of the Vienna Educational College said.