On May 23rd, Walt told you how Austria's nationalist Freedom Party lost that country's presidential election -- to the leftist Greens, no less! -- by a mere 31,000 votes out of more than 4.6 million ballots cast. It was the absentee votes, mailed in from goodness knows where, that provided the margin of victory. Before the postal ballots were counted, the FPÖ's Norbert Hofer was leading the Greens' Alexander Van der Bellen by 51.9% to 48.1%.
Something outta whack there? Some possibility of election fraud? Herr Hofer's supporters thought so and brought a case before Austria's constitutional court, which agreed. On July 1st the court annulled the election because of a string of violations in the counting of postal ballots, which made up 16% of the total.
In a televised announcement, the high court’s president, Gerhart Holzinger, said there was no evidence that votes had been altered or manipulated. But he cited legal precedents, going back almost 90 years, ruling that even the possibility of foul play requires that the election be scrapped. If all the disputed ballots had gone to Herr Hofer, he would have edged out the Greens' Alexander Van der Bellen. The judge dismissed the option of a rerun limited to the disputed districts, ruling that the whole election must be done over.
Austrian voters have already shown themselves sick and tired of the centre-left coalitions that governed the country for two generations. And the anti-immigrant backlash which marked the British "Brexit" referendum is even stronger in Austria. So there's every chance that the rematch between the Austrian versions of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders will have a different outcome. (Lifetime pct .991.) To the people of Austria, Walt says:
Defeat the elite! Power to the real people!