The Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) has announced that a “myriad of irregularities” in the recent presidential elections has forced them to formally challenge the poll result.
The FPÖ’s candidate, Norbet Hofer, lost the election by a hair’s breadth amidst many allegations of voter fraud, duplicate voting—particularly among nonwhites in Vienna—and discrepancies in the postal votes.
Strache addresses a press conference in Vienna, June 8, on the appeals against the presidential election result.
FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache said in an official statement that the party was challenging the presidential election due to a “myriad of irregularities.”
“We are not bad losers, but this is about the very foundations of democracy, which have to be secured,” Strache said at a news conference in Vienna.
“Without these irregularities, Hofer could have become president,” he said.
A total of three appeals of more than 150 pages have been submitted to the Constitutional Court, he continued.
One appeal had been submitted by himself as an authorized agent, a second by presidential candidate Hofer, and a third by “voters and citizens.”
He said that the number of irregularities which have now been reported are of such a number that “mistrust in the system is justified.”
Strache said that irregularities had been detected in 94 of 117 district elections, and with postal vote ballot cards in 82 districts.
“This affects more than 570,000 ballots,” he said. “When there are so many indications [of fraud], then that constitutes a disaster, and we cannot accept it.”
“So many occurrences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the election results. Anyone who looks away and simply moves on, has an insufficient understanding of democracy.”
He added that the State Prosecutor had already determined that laws had been broken in the election, which set a legal precedent for the appeals. Election results were tallied by unauthorized persons, and there were “numerous system errors and shortcomings.”
“It does not take a conspiracy theorist to get a bad feeling about these irregularities.”
The appeal process will now be handed by the Constitutional Court of Austria, which sits in Vienna and whose primary function is to review laws for their constitutionality and to repeal them, should they prove to be unconstitutional.
A spokesman for the Constitutional Court said that they would endeavor to make a decision on the dispute before the swearing in of the new president on July 8.