Austria holds presidential election


Austria held presidential election on Sunday and the latest opinion polls indicated incumbent President Heinz Fischer is strongly favored by voters.

Polling stations across Austria opened at 7:00 am (0500 GMT) and will be closed at 5:00 pm (1500 GMT).

Although preliminary results will not come out in two hours, the latest opinion polls showed that Fischer who is from the Social Democrat Party, is favored by some 82 percent of the voters, which means he is very likely to be reelected for another six-year term.

His arch-rival, Barbara Rosenkranz from the extreme-right Freedom Party, is trailing far behind with a support rating of 13 percent.

Rosenkranz is well-known for her questioning of Austrian laws that banns Nazi ideology and Holocaust denial.

Another candidate, Rudolf Gehring from the Christian Party, is in the third place with only 5 percent of support.

Fischer, a 71-year-old scholar, first won the election in 2004.

It is the first time that 16-year-olds are allowed to cast ballots and there are over 6 million eligible voters.

However, the turnout appears to be low since the president’s role in Austria is largely ceremonial.

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