Austria to re-run presidential elections

Last month saw a far right candidate, Norbert Hofer, narrowly defeated by only 31’000 votes in the Austrian election. Mr Hofer, Freedom Party, lost to Alexander Van der Bellen, former leader of the Greens. Today the constitutional courts declared the election must be re-run, likely due to 0.3% difference not being enough of a majority.
In the mean time the current President, Heinz Fischer, will be replaced by a parliamentary trio that will include Mr Hofer, and, likely, the former-President-elect Van der Bellen. This will last until the re-run has taken place and, as hoped by the constitutional court, a majority of more than 0.3% is achieved by someone.
The nationalist Freedom Party did protest the result though how much this effected the decision to re-run is not known. The party stands for low taxes, privatisation, a welfare state, and a lowering of immigration. It claims if immigration continues at current levels the welfare state in Austria would suffer. 
The rise of far right sentiment – privatisation, anti-immigration, and threatening the welfare state with dubious claims – is on the arise across Europe. Le Pen leads the National Front in France and she came 3rd in the last French presidential election, she is 2nd in the polls for next years French elections. There is also De Wever in Belgium, Dahl in Denmark, and let us not forget Farage in the UK. All of the names above are leaders of nationalistic parties with anti-immigration sentiments and claims of uniquely [insert country] values. 
Nationalism can be linked to the 2008 crash. Unemployment rose and austerity reigned supreme. People moved hundreds of miles across the EU to find employment, typically east to west, south to north. Everyone struggled, redundancy was common. However, since the UK, Germany, Austria, France, Denmark, Belgium, and Netherlands all recovered somewhat people began to see those who weren’t ‘natives’ as other, as leeching, and stealing jobs. And while all statistics show immigration has helped every economy resentment spread. Impervious to facts nationalistic pride took hold and the growth of UKIP, National Front, and Freedom Party shows just how quickly. While many on the left will argue against nationalism in such large amounts and cry for unity, simply throwing facts and telling people they are wrong, unfortunately, doesn’t convince them. We must convince them that helping others does not rely on what country they are from but simply on that they need help in some form.
With this re-run of the presidential election there is a very real chance that Austria becomes the first EU country to have a far right leader and not only must we argue against the far right but also ask why is it so attractive to so many?


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