This content is not available in your region

Austrian presidential debate descends into slanderous squabble

Access to the comments Comments
By Euronews
Austrian presidential debate descends into slanderous squabble

<p>The final Austrian presidential debate was a less than cordial affair.</p> <p>With right wing populist candidate Norbert Hofer and his liberal opponent Alexander Van der Bellen neck-and-neck in the polls ahead of Sunday’s vote, the televised event was one their last opportunities to battle for votes.</p> <p>And battle they did. Both politicians flung outlandish accusations across the table, each armed with a folder full of contentious statements made by the other.</p> <p>When the mediator on public broadcaster <span class="caps">ORF</span> tried to get the debate back on track, it was brief.</p> <p>Speaking of the recent election of Donald Trump, Hofer said he believed the US will develop in a positive way. After Trump there will be another president, and another and another, he said, and we will have positive relations with the US for decades to come.</p> <p>Van der Bellen, a self described critic of the Trump campaign, emphasised the need for Europeans to band together to define and defend interests and values.</p> <p>By the end of the evening, both candidates had lost patience with one another.</p> <p>Hofer accused Van der Bellen of having been a communist and a spy, while the left wing candidate called his opponent a mean liar. </p> <p>There was no love lost between the pair, and both will be pleased that their paths may not cross for a long while.</p>