A Slight Edge as a Contract

31,026 votes made the difference. Alexander Van der Bellen is the next federal president.

0.6% is so little that it is really like a contract. Van der Bellen can be happy, but there are no grounds for triumph. There were as many voters behind the FPÖ candidate as behind him. And that even though the independent Irmgard Griss, the old and the new chancellor, the SPÖ and ÖVP politicians (even if retired), the NEOS, artists and those considered as such, lined up behind him. That should bring him to recognize that not everything that is not red-green must be fascist (which is the current thinking).

Now he will have to honor his election slogan.

Derogatory gestures and cynical laughter directed at opposing opinion will have to be things of the past. The other half of the population must be taken seriously, be just as respected, as his own voters.

There will be no problem for the office-holders. Foreign media are working away at the “lurch to the Right” by the 50% of Hofer voters. The faithful servants of their own pre-judgments will not be convinced to the contrary.

For the country, it means that the grandfatherly style of the president will be extended for six years. The government needs not shift. Business as usual. No one will press them or mix in. Whether the rest will do them any good is yet to be seen.

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