Leader of the Freedom Party of Austria (PFÖ), Heinz Christian Strache, has raised questions over the postal vote result in the Austrian presidential election.
The FPÖ leader posted on his Facebook account that he, among others, has serious questions to raise regarding the handling of postal votes following the Austrian presidential election last Sunday.
The election was one of the closest in Austrian history and saw the FPÖ candidate Norbert Hofer lose to former Green party leader Alexander Van der Bellen by only 31,026 votes.
The result shocked many Austrians. On the day of the election the Interior Ministry in Austria had counted the ballots submitted in person, showing a narrow lead for Mr. Hofer at 51.9 per cent with Mr. Van der Bellen at 48.1 per cent. It was only after the postal votes were counted that Mr. Van der Bellen was declared the winner.
On his Facebook account Mr. Strache wrote that the chief returning officer of the election had told news programme ZIB 2 on election day that they had in their possession 740,000 absentee ballots to count. The claim is that the election officials had managed to count the total number of ballots received but had not yet been able to separate the invalid from the valid ballot papers.
The chief returning officer was able to estimate that around 700,000 of the postal votes would likely be valid. “In the end there was suddenly over 766,000 absentee ballot cards with over 740,000 VALID VOTES!” Mr. Strache wrote saying there were “questions upon questions!”
Alexander Markovics, spokesman for the hipster-right Identitarian movement of Austria, spoke exclusively to Breitbart London claiming this wasn’t the first time postal votes had caused controversy in Austrian elections.
Mr. Markovics claimed that Austrian democracy could be improved substantially saying “I think that an abolishment of the postal vote would be just fine, since it’s easy to manipulate as elections in the past have proven.” The anti-mass migration youth movement protested a meeting in Graz in which then-candidate Alexander Van der Bellen was scheduled to give a speech.
Mr. Markovics referred specifically to the Vienna mayoral election that took place last year which saw FPÖ leader Mr. Strache come a close second to long time Vienna mayor and Socialist Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) luminary Michael Häupl.
In that case the accusations came from the Green party who alleged that the SPÖ were taking ballots mailed to people with dementia and filling them out on their behalf. Martin Margulies of the Vienna Green party made the accusation after his grandmother, who has severe dementia, had received a postal ballot, which are only available upon specific request.
Some critics have also noted the high number of invalid votes in the presidential election and it has led some on social media to question what kind of votes were counted as invalid.
A picture was leaked on a twitter account belonging to an Austrian branch of “Anonymous Austria” that claims to show a ballot paper with a vote for Norbert Hofer being rejected because the cross extended outside of the circle, though many have rejected the picture as a hoax.
— Anonymous Austria (@Anon_Austria) May 23, 2016
Several other inconsistencies surrounding the election have raised eyebrows such as the incredible statistic of Waidhofen an der Ybbs which saw a 146.9 per cent participation rate according to the Interior Ministry website.
The baffling figure led Breitbart London’s James Delingpole to comment “this stinks of a stitch up by the bien-pensant elite in unholy alliance with the immigrant bloc vote. As with the EU, so it is increasingly in national elections: the social democratic ruling class refuses to listen to the people.”