Far-right nationalist Hofer concedes defeat

Austria’s far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer has conceded defeat in an election rerun after exit polls showed an apparent win for his left-leaning rival.

Hofer’s announcement puts Alexander Van der Bellen in the clear to assume the presidency. Official results are not expected until late Sunday or early Monday, but exit polls announced by state broadcaster ORF showed Van der Bellen with 53.6% of the vote.

While the Austrian president’s role is largely ceremonial, the vote was closely watched around the world as a gauge of wider anti-establishment sentiment following the election of US President-elect Donald Trump and Britain’s vote in June to leave the European Union.

“I am incredibly sad it didn’t work out,” Hofer wrote in a concession statement on Facebook.

“I would have loved to look after Austria. I congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen to his success and ask all Austrians to stick together,” he added. “We are all Austrians, no matter what we decided today. Long live our home Austria.”

The author: Michel DEURINCK

Michel Deurinck, born in Brussels in 1950, started his career in the Belgian civil service, dedicating over 30 years to public service. Upon retirement, he pursued his passion for journalism. Transitioning into this new field, he quickly gained recognition for his insightful reporting on politics and culture. Deurinck's balanced and thoughtful approach to journalism has made him a respected figure in Belgian media.

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