The Austrian Constitutional Court has annulled the federal presidential election because of 14 proven cases of voter fraud and ordered a rerun of the election.
The announcement, made on Friday morning, means that the entire election will have to take place again, most likely within the next two months. The president was supposed to have been sworn in on July 8.
“Elections are the foundation of our democracy,” Constitutional Court President Gerhart Holzinger said during the court’s decision. The preservation of that foundation is the “primary duty” of his court, he said.
“The decision that I will now announce makes no loser and no winner,” Holzinger said. “It serves only one goal: Confidence in our rule of law and the strengthening of our democracy.”
In 14 of 20 surveyed districts, the principle of the secret ballot was violated, the court ruled, noting that the ballot papers were opened in the absence of legal representatives.
Some 77,926 votes were affected by this illegality, which makes manipulation possible, the court ruled.
The communist-Green Alexander Van der Bellen defeated the Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer by only 30,863 votes—after winning an abnormally high number of postal votes.
The number of affected votes could therefore have affected the outcome, and the court ruled that because of this, the election will have to be rerun.