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Austria overturns presidential poll result, calls for fresh elections

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:48 IST

In a major turn of events, the highest court of Austria overturned the result of the presidential election on 1 July.

In the keenly-contested 22 May elections, the candidate of the Freedom party, Norbert Hofer, lost to Alexander Van der Bellen, former leader of the Greens, by the margin of less than a percentage.

BBC reported that Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache challenged the poll results, alleging that postal ballots were illegally handled in 94 of the 17 districts.

The hearing over the matter continued for two weeks in the court where the Freedom Party's lawyers claimed that there had been irregularities during the course of counting votes, BBC reported. The party alleged that the election had been rigged and that underage citizens and foreigners were allowed to cast their vote. The party also argued that the votes had been opened before the scheduled time and that votes were counted by unauthorised people.

President Heinz Fischer will be replaced by Hofer and two other parliamentary officials for a temporary basis.

The fresh elections are expected to be held in September or October.

First published: 1 July 2016, 4:58 IST