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Norbert Hofer and Alexander Van de Bellen to vie for Austrian president in second round

April 25, 9:32 UTC+3 VIENNA
Most probable contenders for Austrian president in the second round of voting are Norbert Hofer and Alexander Van de Bellen
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Norbert Hofer

Norbert Hofer

© EPA/FILIP SINGER

VIENNA, April 25. /TASS/. Most probable contenders for Austrian president in the second round of voting were named on Sunday after counting about 99,9% of ballot papers.

The frontrunner is Norbert Hofer, a candidate from the right-wing populist Austrian Freedom Party, with 35,4%  of the vote. He is followed by Alexander Van de Bellen, a descendant of a nobleman from Russia’s Pskov province and the former leader of Austrian Greens,with 21,3% of votes.

The president has limited powers in Austria, which is a parliamentary republic. He appoints the country’s chancellor on the basis of results of parliamentary elections and offers him to form a cabinet of ministers; appoints ministers, represents the state in the international arena; signs state treaties and is the commander-in-chief of the Austrian army. But the president has practically no influence on legislative bodies of power and government activities.

Austrian public opinion research centers believe that the president is unlikely to be elected today and that the second round will be necessary because none of the candidates will gain the support of at least half of the voters.

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