Austria presidential poll result overturned

 
Austria presidential poll result overturned
Austria's highest court has annulled the result of the presidential election narrowly lost by the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party, the BBC reports.

The party had challenged the result, saying that postal votes had been illegally and improperly handled.

The Freedom Party candidate, Norbert Hofer, lost the election to the former leader of the Greens, Alexander Van der Bellen, by just 30,863 votes or less than one percentage point.

The election will now be re-run.

Announcing the decision, Gerhard Holzinger, head of the Constitutional Court, said: "The challenge brought by Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache against the 22 May election... has been upheld."

He added: "The decision I am announcing today has no winner and no loser, it has only one aim: to strengthen trust in the rule of law and democracy."

Austria's politics have been thrown into confusion. One of the most controversial and polarising presidential elections in recent history will have to be re-run.

This is a moral victory for the far-right, anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic Freedom Party, which launched the legal challenge last month after alleging "terrifying" irregularities.

The Freedom Party is hoping that the decision by the court will help its candidate Norbert Hofer win in the new election this autumn.

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