1 July 2016
The highest Constitutional Court in Austria on Friday annulled the European country’s presidential run-off elections held on May 22.
The election which was narrowly lost by the candidate of the far-right Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer was annulled over irregularities.
Hofer lost the May 22 election to Alexander Van der Bellen, by just 30,863 votes or less than one percentage point.
The court said that widespread irregularities in the counting of the more than 700,000 postal ballots cast meant there was enough doubt over the election’s outcome for a re-run to be ordered.
The decision comes eight days after Britain’s world-shocking referendum to leave the EU.
Concerns about immigration and jobs featured prominently in the Brexit referendum, as they did in Austria’s election.
The president of the Austrian Constitutional Court, Gerhart Holzinger announced on Monday in Vienna that “the decision . . . doesn’t make anyone a loser or a winner.
“It should only serve one purpose: to strengthen trust in our legal system and, therefore, our democracy.
“The run-off election must be repeated in its entirety in the whole of Austria.”
Reacting to the court’s announcement, Hofer expressed his joy though he admitted it was “a difficult decision”.