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Austria’s President Seeks Reelection After Turbulent Term

Austria's President Seeks Reelection After Turbulent Term
Photo Courtesy: Reuters

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, a 78-year-old former Green Party leader, has indicated that he will run for re-election to a second six-year term in 2022, limiting the number of contenders. Mr. Van der Bellen is a well-liked politician who has remained calm during times of turmoil, such as the scandal-plagued collapse of a government coalition between the conservative People’s Party (OVP) and the far-right Freedom Party in 2019. The article contains Austria’s President Seeks Reelection After Turbulent Term.

Senior members of parliament’s two largest parties, the OVP and the Social Democrats, have stated that they are unlikely to nominate candidates if he runs. Austrian presidents serve primarily as ceremonial figures, but they do have the right to remove the government during a crisis or change.

“My name is Alexander Van der Bellen. I am running for the office of president. I ask for your support and your vote,” he said in a video posted online on Sunday. In a runoff against Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer in May 2016, when Europe’s migration crisis was the dominating political issue, Mr. Van der Bellen won by a razor-thin margin of 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent.

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