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Austrian Freedom Party Challenges Presidential Election Results

Freedom party claims irregularities in May election.

Freedom party posters in Vienna
Freedom party’s Norbert Hofer urges backers to accept his defeat to Alexander Van der Bellen despite some alleging foul play.

Austria’s far-right Freedom party (FPÖ) will contest the outcome of last month’s presidential elections, it has announced. In a knife-edge contest that divided the country and captured the attention of the entire continent, the FPÖ candidate, Norbert Hofer, lost to Green-endorsed Alexander Van der Bellen by 30,863 votes.

In the immediate aftermath of the election, Hofer had appealed to his supporters to accept Van der Bellen as president. “We should all pull together,” Hofer said at the time. “There are no signs of electoral fraud.”

But at a press conference on Wednesday, the FPÖ leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, claimed that reports of irregularities in 94 voting districts “obliged” his party to contest the result.
Far-right Austrian presidential candidate dismisses voter fraud claims
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“We are not bad losers, but this is about securing the foundations of democracy,” Strache said. “You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist for these irregularities to give you a funny feeling.” The FPÖ has handed in a 150-page complaint to Austria’s constitutional court that details the alleged irregularities.

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