Austrians go to the polls today to elect a new president. All the indications are that Heinz Fischer will win a second six year term. Opinion polls point to the 71-year-old former political sciences professor enjoying a comfortable majority.
The pro-European Social Democrat’s popularity among the electorate of more than six million has increased since he first won office in 2004.
Barbara Rosenkranz is his closest challenger but is still expected to get under 20 per cent of the vote. The self described housewife and mother of ten has campaigned on family values. Her critics say she has pro-Nazi sympathies and in the past she has opposed EU integration and called for the restoration of border controls between the 27 member states.
It is the first time 16-year-olds in the country will be able to vote. And they will have the choice of a third canditate. Rudolph Gehring is running for the Christian Party of Austria though he is not expected to make an impact.