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Austrian far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) presidential candidate Norbert Hofer waits for the first projections in his office in Vienna, Austria [Image: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters].

Austrian far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) presidential candidate Norbert Hofer waits for the first projections in his office in Vienna, Austria [Image: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters].

It’s far too early to say, of course.

But the defeat of Norbert Hofer in Austria indicates that Europeans are less willing to be swayed by the anti-fact, emotion-driven, right-wing populism that is propelling the UK out of the European Union and will shortly see Donald Trump enter the White House in the USA.

Some anti-EU activists in the UK have been hoping the rise of the alt-Right (who some believe are more correctly described as neo-Nazis) would lead to the collapse and dissolution of the European Union, with new European leaders following the UK’s lead and choosing to go it alone.

Now those hopes have been dashed as, it seems, our cousins on the Continent have more common sense than has been displayed by certain voters in the UK and across the Atlantic.

It isn’t enough to suggest that the neo-Nazis, fascists, Kippers – and all the other political flotsam and jetsam who’ve been turning up lately – are ready to slither off the political stage again. Time will tell.

But those of us who want sanity in our politics can take comfort from it.

The candidate vying to become Europe’s first freely elected far-right head of state since World War Two conceded defeat in Austria’s presidential election soon after polls closed on Sunday evening.

The result is a blow to populists who had hoped a wave of anti-establishment anger sweeping Western democracies would carry Norbert Hofer to power after Britain’s Brexit referendum and Americans’ election of Donald Trump as president.

Hofer, of the anti-immigration and anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPO), conceded he had been soundly beaten by former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen.

Austria’s president traditionally has a largely ceremonial role. But the election, a re-run of a May vote that was overturned due to counting irregularities, had been seen as another test of populist sentiment in Europe ahead of elections in France, Germany and the Netherlands next year.

Voters may have heeded Van der Bellen’s increasingly strident warnings that Hofer wanted to follow Britain’s lead and pull Austria out of the European Union.

Source: Far-Right Camp Concedes Defeat In Austrian Presidential Election

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