Austrians vote for a new President
There are six candidates standing in today’s presidential election with a second round runoff date of 22nd May if needed which it looks as though it might. There are 6,380,605 eligible voters with polling stations opening times determined by local situations but many seem to be open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time.
Opinion polls, if correct, suggest that the Greens candidate Alexander Van der Bellen leads the race with 26% support and an independent candidate Irmgard Griss, a retired president of the Austrian Supreme Court, is in second place with 24% support. That would mean that the two ruling parties’ candidates in the election are about to get a severe lesson from the voters. Rudolf Hundstorfer of the SPÖ and Andreas Khol of the ÖVP are on just 14% and 9% support respectively. The only major party candidate with any chance of getting to the second round appears to be right-wing FPÖ candidate Norbert Hofer who is on 22% support.
The six candidates are:
Rudolf Hundstorfer; Centre-left Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ)
Andreas Khol; Centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP)
Norbert Hofer; Right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ)
Alexander Van der Bellen; Centre-left The Greens – The Green Alternative (Die Grünen – Die Grüne Alternative)
Irmgard Griss; Independent
Richard Lugner; Independent
Incumbent President Heinz Fischer has served the two terms he is allowed under the constitution. The Federal president serves a six year term and the post is largely ceremonial.