Far-right camp concedes defeat to establishment in Austria

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Far-right Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer’s campaign manager conceded defeat on Sunday to former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen.

“The bottom line is it didn’t quite work out,” Herbert Kickl told broadcaster ORF as initial projections showed Van der Bellen leading with a score of around 54 percent to Hofer’s 46 percent.

“In this case the establishment — which pitched in once again to block, to stonewall and to prevent renewal — has won,” he said.

Alexander Van der Bellen (born 18 January 1944), known informally as Sascha, is an Austrian politician and economist who is now President-elect of Austria.

Van der Bellen is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Vienna. A member of the Austrian Green Party, he served as a member of the National Council from 1994 to 2012, and was chairman of the parliamentary club and federal spokesperson of his party from 1997 to 2008.

He ran as a nominally independent candidate supported by the Green Party in the 2016 presidential election, and finished second out of six in the first round before winning the second round against Norbert Hofer, a member of the Freedom Party of Austria.

On 1 July, before he was due to be sworn into office, the results of the second round of voting were annulled by the Constitutional Court of Austria, requiring the election to be re-held. He has now won the presidential election.

Van der Bellen supports green and social liberal policies, and has described himself as a liberal. He is supportive of the European Union and advocates European federalism.