'Unbelievable Disgrace': Austrian Election Delayed, 'Glue Failing to Stick on Postal Votes'

Chris Menahan
Sep. 11, 2016

All the stops are being pulled out to prevent anti-immigration candidate Norbert Hofer from attaining the presidency in Austria.

From Zero Hedge:
As AFP reports, it is now virtually certain that the election scheduled for October 2, and which Hofer will not lose this time, will not be held after all, as an "embarrassing postponement of Austria's high-stakes October 2 presidential election looked all but inevitable Saturday, because of technical problems involving glue failing to stick on postal votes."

In the wake of the abovementioned May presidential election, which was annulled after Austria's highest court upheld claims of procedural irregularities made by the narrowly-defeated far-right, a new election had been scheduled for October 2. This necessitated fresh elections but this time there appear to be... problems with glue on postal votes not sticking, making them invalid.

On Saturday independent ecologist Alexander Van der Bellen joined his rival in the vote, Norbert Hofer from the far-right, in saying he now expects a postponement.

"I don't believe that October 2 is possible any more," Van der Bellen, 72, told a news conference. "I hope that (the new election) can still take place this year." But they may not... because the glue on the same postal votes that were used to rig the last election is "no longer sticking."

Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka meanwhile made his clearest indication yet of a postponement, saying that "it does not look like" the problems can be resolved in time. He is due to make an announcement on Monday.

According to local media, the October election may now not even take place in 2016: Die Presse daily cited unnamed sources as saying that the government was looking at several possible dates in November, but that mid-December or even January were being considered.

Pushing the election back poses legal problems, however, and the government is considering drawing up special legislation allowing it to happen.

Some called this farce for what it is: "this is an unbelievable disgrace for... the whole country," Die Presse said in an editorial entitled "Banana Republic".

Meanwhile Hofer, 45, officially launched his election campaign in Wels in northern Austria despite the likely postponement, hitting out at the "stupidity" of allowing mass immigration by "economic migrants". The May 22 vote, a run-off after a first round in April, saw Van der Bellen narrowly beat Hofer by just 31,000 votes. The FPOe has stoked concerns about recent record immigration, and should Hofer eventually win it would make Austria the first country in Europe since 1945 to elect a nationalist president, and unleash even more anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe just in time for the all important French presidential elections where National Front's Marine le Pen has a substantial advantage.
This might end up working in Hofer's favor, as the situation in Europe is deteriorating by the day.

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