The Communist-Green party candidate, backed by the socialists and conservatives, has won the presidential election in Austria by 31,026 votes. Hofer polled 2,223,458 votes, or 49.7 percent, and Van der Bellen polled 2,524,484 votes, or 50.3 percent of the vote.
Van der Bellen came from behind after the polling on Sunday to win just over 60 percent of the postal ballots. Even so, he only beat Nobert Hofer by some 31,000 votes, which means that the total vote split 50-50 between the FPÖ and all the other parties—an astonishing achievement in light of the establishment conspiracy against that party.
In a concession statement on his Facebook page, Hofer urged his supporters not to lose heart and to consider the campaign an investment in the 2018 election, in which the FPÖ is still set to be the largest party by far.
“Dear Friends!,” Hofer wrote.
“I would like to thank you for your great support. Of course, today I am sad. I would have loved to serve you as president of our wonderful country.
“I will remain loyal to you and will continue to make a contribution toward a positive future in Austria.
“Please don’t be despondent. The benefits of this campaign have not been lost, but are an investment in the future,” he concluded.
In his reaction, FPÖ leader Heinz Christian Strache said that 50 percent of Austrians had demanded a better country, and that this was “only the beginning.”
“The path that we have walked for the last eleven years has now opened so far that no one can overtake us,” Strache wrote.
“We have already started the turnaround. Norbert Hofer was ex aequo winner today with around 50 percent of the vote, and was only not elected president of Austria in a photo-finish by millimeters.
“The whole of the old party system (the SPÖ, three former ÖVP leaders, the Greens, the Neos, EU-Juncker, EU-Schulz, etc.) campaigned against Norbert Hofer.
“We will now work consistently on this great success toward a nice, better, and more fair Austria.
“Fifty percent of people have expressed a desire for change, and we are not going to leave half our people in the lurch.
“This is only the beginning of a democratic new era in the direction of direct democracy and binding referenda.
“We are fighting for the people who have been alienated in their home country and seek new policies for Austria. Good luck!”
* “ex aequo” is Latin for “according to the right and good.”