Wednesday 18 October 2017

Austria to postpone presidential vote due to faulty ballots

Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka attends a press conference in Vienna (AP)
Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka attends a press conference in Vienna (AP)
Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka attends a press conference in Vienna (AP)

Austria's interior minister has asked the government to postpone repeat presidential elections because of faulty absentee ballot envelopes, effectively cancelling a vote planned for next month.

Wolfgang Sobotka's decision was prompted by a recent finding that hundreds - perhaps thousands - of the envelopes cannot be sealed because the adhesive strips meant to close them are defective.

Austria was to have decided on a president in May after left-leaning contender Alexander Van der Bellen edged out Norbert Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party.

But the country's highest court ordered a re-run after the Freedom Party claimed major irregularities. The rerun had been scheduled for October 2.

With the government needing to create a new law to allow for the postponement, any repeat of the vote is unlikely before November.

AP

Press Association

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