Slovaks praise Austrian vote for president

The results are good news for the country as well as Europe as a whole, according to Deputy Speaker of Parliament Béla Bugár.

New Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen who defeated the populist right-wing Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer in the repeated second round of presidential elections in Austria.New Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen who defeated the populist right-wing Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer in the repeated second round of presidential elections in Austria.(Source: AP/TASR)

While Austrians chose Alexander Van der Bellen, an independent candidate and ex-Green Party chief, as their new president in the repeated second round of the presidential elections, the Slovak authorities reacted to the result mainly with positive feelings thanks to the defeat of populism.

Slovak President Andrej Kiska recalled his first phone conversation with Van der Bellen in May 2016 after the rejected second round of elections which Van der Bellen won as well.

“I cross my fingers for our neighbours and I look forward to an early meeting with the new Austrian president,” Kiska posted on his Facebook page while testifying to his pleasure in the final result.

The results are good news for the country as well as Europe as a whole, said Most-Híd leader and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Béla Bugár. Populism does not produce any long-term and sustainable solution, on the contrary it only creates conflicts and dividing lines in society.

“We must together reject populism and promote the values on which post-war Europe stood and still stands,” Bugár told the TASR newswire.

Another parliamentary party Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) considers Austria a functioning democracy with a strong sense of fair-play and its new president a well-oriented head of state who can point the way for Austrians in difficult times.

“The fact that the Austrian court had the strength and courage to decide to repeat the election, that the election took place and was recognized and in particular, that the defeated candidate respected the results of the election are strong signs of democracy,” said SaS chair Richard Sulík, as quoted by the Sme daily.

Van der Bellen beat the candidate for the populist right-wing Freedom Party, Norbert Hofer, after the second round of the presidential elections was repeated because of a failure in counting postal votes during the original second round on May 22, Sme reported.

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