Austria's Van der Bellen: green foe of the far-right

Demonstrators protesting against far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer, walk past an election billboard featuring his rival Alexander Van der BellenInstead of healing Austria’s political rift, Alexander Van der Bellen has proved as divisive a figure in the country’s marathon presidential race as his far-right rival Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPOe). Hofer has seized upon the sentiment and repeatedly denounced his adversary as a “communist” or even a Cold War spy for the Soviet Union — claims Van der Bellen dismissed as “ridiculous”. Back in May, the pro-European liberal nonetheless managed to beat Hofer by a paper-thin margin in the run-off, which was then annulled over procedural irregularities.

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