Norbert Hofer has just conceded defeat in Austria’s presidential election after exit polls and interim results showed him losing by 47 per cent to 53 per cent. Victory goes to Alexander Van der Bellen, the 72-year-old former Green party leader. He has said the election result sends a message ‘to the capitals of the EU that one can win elections with high European positions.’
The last time Hofer lost to Van der Bellen, in May, his margin of defeat was just 0.4 per cent, or 31,000 votes. His right-wing populist Freedom Party brought an appeal and Austria's Constitutional Court ordered the election to be run again.
But this time, Hofer seems to have lost by at least 300,000 votes. Rather than claim the election was rigged, or was corrupted by dodgy ballot envelopes, he has congratulated his rival – then called for national unity on Facebook.