The Slatest

The Austrian Version of Trump Lost His Election, but Only Just Barely

Norbert Hofer during a TV appearance on Sunday in Vienna.

Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images

Right-wing Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer has lost a runoff election against liberal opponent Alexander Van der Bellen 50.3 percent to 49.7 percent, the country’s interior minister announced. Hofer is a member of the Freedom Party, a group founded in the 1950s by former Nazis and led for many years by the nationalist politician Jörg Haider, who died in 2008. Hofer carried a handgun while campaigning and advocates strict limits on immigration and the admittance of refugees.

Austria’s president is its official head of state but is not its most powerful figure—that’s the chancellor. The presidency is not a completely irrelevant position, however: “The president does have the power to dissolve the National Council—the more powerful lower house of parliament—and so trigger a general election,” the BBC writes.