Austria's nationalist candidate appears to lose election

It appears Austria will not be following the U.S. in electing a populist candidate. Freedom Party President Norbert Hofer has already conceded defeat in the 2016 presidential election do-over. Via The Independent:

Austria’s Freedom Party conceded defeat within minutes of the poll projections being released.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Van der Bellen,” the party’s chief strategist told Austrian media.

“The bottom line is it didn’t quite work out,” he said. “In this case the establishment — which pitched in once again to block, to stonewall and to prevent renewal — has won.”

Mr Hofer congratulated his opponent on Facebook and called on “all Austrians to stick together and work together”.

He was “incredibly sad,” he added.

Hofer’s party is considered “far right” based on its membership in Europe of Nations and Freedom in European Parliament (which includes France’s National Front and Germany’s Alternative for Germany). There certainly is a lot of Donald Trump in their platform, including the promise to put more police officers on the street (via FPO’s website through Google Translate):

SPÖ and the Greens fail in combating crime. Organized crime flourishes and no district of Vienna is more secure. Foreign gangs terrorize the population. The offenders are more brutal and brazen. There is a lack of security forces. Policemen who pass through are criminalized by left-wing politicians.

The FPÖ protects the security of the population of Vienna. Security is a fundamental right. For the liberals, sacrifice is at the forefront and not false tolerance for the perpetrators. Criminal foreigners are to be deported in the future. Organized beggars have no place in Vienna.

Hofer’s party is also a fan of the state exerting control over businesses in who they hire, corporate welfare, and a pretty strong social state.

SPÖ and Greens Vienna brings a record unemployment. Cheap labor from the East displaces Austrian workers and well-integrated immigrants. Furthermore, some social benefits were cut to the detriment of the poorest in order to fill budget holes. The costs of living are exploding and wages are stagnating or declining. Firms that create work are also ideological enemy images.

The FPÖ protects domestic workers. No foreign job-seekers are to be allowed into the country as long as their own citizens suffer from unemployment. The purchase of social benefits should be linked to citizenship and successful integration. Those who have full-time work should be able to live on. Incentives for companies create additional jobs.

Then there’s immigration. The FPO wants a total ban on immigration, saying in their 2011 platform how Austria isn’t a place for immigrants.

Austria is not an country of immigration. This is why we pursue a family policy centred around births. Legal and legitimate immigrants who are already integrated, who can speak the German language, who fully acknowledge our values and laws and have set down cultural roots should be given the right to stay and obtain citizenship.

It might not be a bad thing the Austrians appear to have rejected Hofer and the FPO.

This doesn’t mean Alexander Van der Bellen is going to be the next coming of George Washington. His platform is pretty vague, except for promising to represent as many people as possible (via Google translate).

I want to be the President of the Center! I am concerned about the fact that we are not just hearing those who call the loudest. Those who represent the most radical positions.

I am concerned about the people in the middle. It is about giving the many people a voice, which day by day ensure that our country works so well. To the many who are in the midst of society. In the country, in the villages, in the municipalities, in the cities.

He’s also pro-EU (something Hofer is, as well), and is probably another big government politician (much like Hofer), if one is to believe the Green Party’s platform. The Austrians were in a bad spot, but it should also be noted the presidential position is pretty much ceremonial, so it’s not like the U.S. presidency. Van der Bellen probably represents more of a status quo than the potentially radial change Hofer would have brought. Not that anyone wins, anyway.