Austria: Van der Bellen re-elected

Alexander Van der Bellen has secured victory against his challengers and will remain president of Austria. The former leader of the Green Party won 57 percent of the vote. Four of his six rivals for the post represented right-wing populist positions, and together they garnered more than 30 percent. Commentators say the outcome reflects the mood in the country.

Open/close all quotes (SK) /

Stability and balance

For to Van der Bellen embodies the best that Europe has to offer:

“The reasons for Van der Bellen's success lie in the stability and balance he ensured during his first term as president. He led the country through the pitfalls of the pandemic and political divisions, and had to appoint five new governments in six years. After the Russian aggression, he adopted a clearly pro-Ukrainian stance and sided with the refugees on immigration issues. ... He gives us the hope that Austria will continue to be a predictable country over the next six years, firmly anchored in the heart of Europe.”

Večer (SI) /

He also disappointed

Appearances can be deceptive, says Večer:

“Compared to previous Austrian presidents who ran for re-election, Van der Bellen's results were the lowest in 70 years. Taken together his right-wing opponents won more than a third of the vote, but young people in particular didn't vote for Van der Bellen. Why? Perhaps because a month ago, when asked by a journalist about the price increases that affect young people, he replied: 'They'll just have to grin and bear it.' And this cynical response could be a bad omen for many current European leaders.”

Österreich (AT) /

Give the government a telling off now and then

The tabloid Österreich would like to see the president play a more active role:

“The result is far from glorious for an incumbent president - especially when all parties except the FPÖ supported him. ... The dissatisfaction with Van der Bellen's performance as president is greater than yesterday's result suggests. The president should draw the right conclusions from this for the next six years of his term: Austrians want a more active president who speaks out more clearly (and above all more quickly) on important issues. And one who once in a while summons the government to the Hofburg (and reprimands it) when things are stalled yet again at the Chancellor's Office.”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

Reconciliation still a long way off

Even the conservative Van der Bellen has failed to win the support of many sections of the electorate, the Kleine Zeitung analyses:

“In his victory speech six years ago, Van der Bellen compared the divided country to two separate halves that he wanted to reunite. He subordinated everything else to this goal. However, he did not quite manage to achieve it in his first mandate. Clearly he is not yet seen as the great unifying figure, otherwise this time round his success would have been even clearer.”