Huge vote split on sex lines hands Green leftist Austrian premiership after centre-right and centre-left fail to reach final round
A remarkable division between male and female voters in Austria has overturned the odds and prevented far-right Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer from clinching the presidency.
Female votes handed the Austrian presidency to the Green Party’s Alexander Van der Bellen, a leftist pro-EU liberal, by the narrowest of margins.
The division between the sexes was stark. Some 60% of Austrian women voted for leftist Van der Bellen. In contrast, 60% of men cast their ballot for far-right Hofer, the bookmakers’ favourite (see graphics).
Overall, Van der Bellen won by just 31,000 votes in 4.34 million, a margin of 0.6%.
The unusual race occurred because the two main, moderate parties in Austria – the centre-right Austrian People’s Party and the centre-left Social Democratic Party – failed to make the final round presidential run-off, forcing electors to choose between a left-liberal environmentalist or a far-right nationalist with pan-Germanist sympathies.
But the wave of support from Austrian females means Van der Bellen is now Europe’s first elected Green head of state.