Far-right candidate in Austria presidential elections concedes defeat

'I am incredibly sad it didn't work out,' far-right candidate Norbert Hofer wrote in a concession statement on Facebook

Norbert Hofer conceded defeat
Norbert Hofer conceded defeat

Austria's far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer has conceded defeat in an election rerun after exit polls showed an apparent win for his left-leaning rival.

While the Austrian president's role is largely ceremonial, the vote was closely watched around the world as a gauge of wider anti-establishment sentiment following the election of US President-elect Donald Trump and Britain's vote in June to leave the European Union.

"I am incredibly sad it didn't work out," Hofer wrote in a concession statement on Facebook.

"I would have loved to look after Austria. I congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen to his success and ask all Austrians to stick together," he added. "We are all Austrians, no matter what we decided today. Long live our home Austria."

Speaking on Austrian state TV, Van der Bellen credited his apparent victory to "the engagement of hundreds of thousands" of people.

"That's how a big movement developed. I have always campaigned for a pro-European Austria. This is about values: freedom, equality and solidarity. Also to include those that don't do that well in the current economic system," he said.

"I will actively speak to all voters, including those of Hofer's party. They have real concerns that have to be taken seriously by the president."

Van der Bellen's apparent win marks a significant change to Austria's political landscape, which has been dominated by two centrist parties since the end of the war.

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