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Austria's far-right Freedom Party demands presidential vote rerun

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Austria's far-right Freedom Party demands presidential vote rerun

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Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPO) is challenging the result of last month’s presidential election.

The FPO is claiming numerous irregularities, particularly for the postal vote count.

Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache told reporters the party is taking its case to court, demanding a re-run of the election.

“You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to get at the very least a particularly bad gut feeling in the face of such mishaps or strange developments,” Strache said.

The run-off vote was tight: the margin of victory was less than one percentage point, or 31,000 votes.

Postal ballots pushed former Green party leader Alexander Van der Bellen past the FPO’s Norbert Hofer.

Various irregularities have come to light, mostly involving the early counting and processing of postal ballots, but the interior ministry has said the number of votes involved was smaller than the margin of victory.

What happens next?

Austria’s Constitutional Court now needs to determine whether the law has been broken and, if so, whether it might have affected the election outcome.

It aims to reach a verdict before July 8, the day Van der Bellen is due to take office.

The post of president is largely ceremonial in Austria, but Hofer would have been the first far-right head of state in the European Union.

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