Austria votes for the extremes

The Guardian reports:

Austria is braced for political turmoil with fears that the landslide victory for a rightwing populist and gun-carrying candidate in Sunday’s first-round presidential vote could trigger snap elections.

Norbert Hofer, of the rightwing Freedom party (FPÖ), defied pollsters’ predictions to beat the Green party’s Alexander Van der Bellen into second place, gaining 36% of the vote. The two candidates will go head to head in a run-off ballot on 22 May.

The Green candidate got 20% and an independent 19%. The candidates of the two main parties got just 11% each, reflecting huge discontent in .

But many commentators say the crisis of the political establishment in Austria has much to do with the fact that the two centrist parties have governed the country in a “grand coalition” for the past 10 years.

This almost always happens when there is a grand coalition.

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