Europe

Austria presidential election: Faulty glue likely to delay vote re-run

Alexander Van der Bellen (l) and Norbert Hofer (r) Image copyright EPA
Image caption Alexander Van der Bellen (L) beat Norbert Hofer (R) by only 30,863 votes in the May vote

A re-run of Austria's presidential election looks set to be postponed on technical grounds - because the glue will not stick on postal vote forms.

The two candidates - Alexander Van der Bellen and Norbert Hofer - have both said they do not expect the election to be held on 2 October date as planned.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka will make an announcement on Monday.

A re-run of May's vote was ordered after Mr Hofer's far-right Freedom Party challenged the result.

He narrowly lost to Mr Van der Bellen, the former Green Party leader.

Mr Van der Bellen told a news conference on Saturday that he was braced for a postponement. "I hope that [the election] can still take place this year," he said.

A number of postal voters have complained in recent days that the glue on their ballot forms was not working properly, making the seals insecure, Die Presse reports.

Mr Sobotka said on Friday that it was unlikely the problems could be resolved in time for the 2 October date, and said he would make a further announcement on Monday, fuelling speculation he will announce a postponement.

Die Presse cites government officials as saying a number of different dates, from November to January, are being considered.


Vying to lead Austria

Norbert Hofer

Image copyright EPA
  • Age: 45
  • Background: Aeronautical engineer
  • Politics: Far-right Freedom Party
  • Campaign soundbite: "To those in Austria who go to war for the Islamic State or rape women - I say to those people: 'This is not your home'."

Alexander Van der Bellen

Image copyright AFP
  • Age: 72
  • Background: Economics professor
  • Politics: Former Green Party leader
  • Campaign soundbite: "I've experienced how Austria rose from the ruins of World War Two, caused by the madness of nationalism."

What powers does the Austrian president have?

It is a mostly ceremonial post. But the president does have the power to dissolve the National Council - the more powerful lower house of parliament. That triggers a general election.

The president can only do that once for a particular reason - he cannot use the same grounds to dissolve it again.

It is the chancellor's job to appoint government ministers. And the chancellor has the power to dismiss the government. But ministers have to be formally sworn in by the president.


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