Results of Austria’s presidential election this weekend remain unknown.

The race is so tight that absentee ballots counted later this week will determine the outcome.

With 98% of the vote counted, anti-immigration Freedom Party FPÖ candidate Norbert Hoferm is in a dead heat with Green party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen

About 900,000 absentee ballots (14% of the overall total), need to be counted.

This is the first time since WWII that the center left and center right parties were knocked out of the election in the first round.

The BBC reports Austria Presidential Vote: Run-Off Race too Close to Call.

Partial results in Austria’s run-off presidential election, which pitches the far right against an independent, suggest it is too close to call.

Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party and Alexander Van der Bellen were each on 50%, with 98% of the vote counted.

The presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz, have both expressed concern over a Hofer victory.


Austria Election

The role of president is largely ceremonial, but the president does have the ability to call for new elections.

Following the first round of voting, Chancellor Werner Faymann resigned after losing the support of his Social Democratic party colleagues.

Death of the “Grand Coalition”

Following the resignation of Werner Faymann on 9 May 2016, Reinhold Mitterlehner served as acting chancellor until 17 May 2016 when Christian Kern was sworn into office.

Kern is the new head of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) a center-left party. Mitterlehner is head of ÖVP, the center-right Austrian People’s Party.

ÖVP is the junior party in a “grand coalition” that is now burnt toast.

The coalition will rule until the next election, but realistically speaking, the grand coalition died when both parties failed to make the presidential runoff.

Austria’s grand coalition is a political casualty of Merkel’s inept decision to welcome refugees with open arms.

Faymann supported Merkel and paid the price. See Political Price for Supporting Merkel: Austria’s Chancellor Resigns, Calls for “New Start”.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock