Four weeks after Donald Trump’s US election victory and five months after the British voted to leave the EU, polls are preparing to close in Austria vote today to decide an historic election.
The first projections together with postal votes are expected at 5 15 pm Austrian time.
The final result will be given tomorrow after postal votes are counted.
The anti establishment and anti-immigration Norbert Hofer is set to defeat Alexander Van der Bellen if the elections are fair.
In the presidential election on May 22, Hofer lost by just 31,000 votes to Van der Bellen. But Hofer’s Freedom Party (FPOe) secured a re-run because of voter fraud. The rerun was then postponed because of fears of more voter fraud through faulty glue on postal votes.
Postal votes had given Van der Bellen victory in May. This time there are 20% fewer postals voters registered.
Fears of fraud are focussing instead this time on votes from ex patriots as in the Italian referendum.
The vote takes place the same day as an Italian referendum on constitutional reforms that could bring down Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and renew political upheaval in Europe’s fourth-biggest economy.
Austria’s presidency is largely ceremonial, but a president does have the power to dissolve a government and trigger new elections.
If Hofer does this, a new government formed out of centre ground nationalist parties is expected to win elections, signalling a seismic shift in the political landscape.
In their final televised debate on Thursday Hofer repeated the accusation that Van der Bellen was a Stasi spy. Angela Merkel has also been accused of being a Stasi spy “IM Erika,” who was blackmailed or worked of her free will for the CIA after the fall of the wall.
Van der Bellen’s late father may also have been a Nazi sympathizer. Van der Bellen’s family obtained special permission during the war to resettle from Estonia to Germany and eventually Vienna, something that was very difficult to get.
Alexander van der Bellen’s father was employed in Talinn in a British Bank, the British overseas bank.
The Van der Bellens went to Germany in 1941 as part of a repatriation programme for families organized by the Nazis. The family travelled to Vienna in 1941 where Alexander Van der Bellen senior was hired as the manager of Koch und Knüpffer Außenhandelsgesellschaft m.b.H., something that also strongly suggests strong links to the Nazis.
He allegedly worked in the export department.
Interestingly, Bank of England documents show that Austria continued to pay interest and dividends to Britian during most of the second world war.
A document called UNITED KINGDOM OVERSEAS INVESTMENTS 1938 to 1948 shows that Austria paid half a million pounds to Britian in 1938, 700,000 pounds in 1939, 200,000 pounds in 1941, 100,000 pounds in 1945, 500,000 pounds in 1946.