Austrian police have announced that they are taking threats against new President Alexander Van der Bellen very seriously.
The Austrian Interior Ministry has announced that they are looking to work with security and intelligence services to beef up protection of newly elected president Alexander Van der Bellen.
They say that they are particularly alarmed by posts to Facebook made in the wake of the incredibly close election that saw Mr. Van der Bellen narrowly defeat right wing rival Norbert Hofer on Monday. One post gave out the home address of the former Green party leader and another post called for attacks on his home, Spiegel Online reports.
Spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Alexander Marakovits, told the paper: “We take this very seriously,” and said an official investigation has been started. Mr. Marakovits said that police and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Austria’s main intelligence service, would also be taking part.
The spokesman would not go into detail over what specific measures would be taken, but assured that the security for the new president would be heightened and that any threats made against him would be dealt with and investigated thoroughly.
Some of the comments are alleged to have been posted to the Facebook page of Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) leader Heinz Christian Strache after he came out Wednesday casting doubt on the postal ballots which swung the election from FPÖ candidate Mr. Hofer, to Mr. Van der Bellen.
The debate among Mr. Strache’s supporters is said to have gotten heated and out of hand forcing the FPÖ leader to delete many comments entirely. He called for calm among the posters and said that both FPÖ and Mr. Van der Bellen’s supporters were leaving comments “which are totally incompatible with the respect for democracy and also to the candidate and their voters”.
The Interior Ministry has not made an official statement as to whether the comments that are being investigated were among those that were deleted by Mr. Strache from his Facebook page but Austrian paper Der Standard, known for having a left liberal slant, claimed that the posts were from Mr. Strache’s page.
The tight presidential election has deeply divided some in Austria as statistics revealed divisions among voters by education, vocation and gender. The majority of women and academics voted for Mr. Van der Bellen, while the vast majority of workers and men voted for Mr. Hofer.
— Kreuzritter (@Kreuzritter28) May 24, 2016
Breitbart London revealed that Mr. Van der Bellen has a history of anti-Austrian sentiment that may deepen the divide. While Mr. Hofer has called for Austrians to unite after the results, campaigns on Facebook that show a picture of Mr. Van der Bellen with the words “not my President,” may indicate the divisions are here to stay.