Alexander Van der Bellen, the Austrian presidential candidate whose parents fled Soviet occupying forces in Estonia in 1940, narrowly beat out his far-right opponent, Norbert Hofer by a margin of of 31,026 ballots in this weekend’s Austrian Presidential election.
Alexander Van der Bellen’s father’s 1919 Estonian ID
— Eerik-Niiles Kross (@EerikNKross) May 23, 2016
Mr. Van der Bellen ran officially as an independent but led Austria’s Greens for a decade.
During the campaign, Mr. Van der Bellen told reporters that he did not want to see Austria led by a “populist right-wing, pan-Germanic fraternity member” and told voters “who don’t like me but perhaps like Hofer even less to vote for me”.
When Mr. Van der Bellen’s opponent, Norbert Hofer was sworn in as the Freedom Party candidate, he wore a cornflower in his lapel, which was a Nazi symbol in the 1930s.
Mr. Van der Bellen joins Estonia’s President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, as the second EU head of state, whose parents fled Soviet occupation in Estonia during the Second World War.