Far-right on edge of power as Austria votes for president

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VIENNA: Austria’s presidential runoff on Sunday could propel the European Union’s first far-right leader to power, in a tense race seen as a test for the crisis-hit bloc facing mounting pressure from anti-establishment parties. A year of rising concerns about the migrant crisis and growing unemployment has left Austria deeply polarized and driven disgruntled voters away from traditional parties toward fringe groups. The rift has found expression in Sunday’s showdown, pitting 45-year-old Norbert Hofer of the anti-immigration Freedom Party (FPOe) against the Green-backed economics professor Alexander van der Bellen, 72. In last month’s first round, Hofer—a gun enthusiast left partially disabled after a paragliding accident—comfortably beat his rival by 35 percent to 21 percent.

AFP

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