: BBC: Austria votes in run-off between far-right and independent

12:26 May. 22, 2016

BBC: Austria votes in run-off between far-right and independent

Norbert Hofer of Austria's Freedom Party, and Alexander Van der Bellen, candidate of the Austrian Greens, wait for the start of a TV debate in Vienna, Austria, May 19, 2016 (AP photo)

'Donald Trump of Europe' Norbert Hofer leads the race to become next president

Austrians are voting in a presidential run-off poll that could elect the European Union's first far-right leader. Norbert Hofer, of the Freedom Party, faces independent Alexander Van der Bellen, backed by the Greens.

Mr Hofer topped the first vote but fell well short of an outright majority. The run-off is expected to be close.

For the first time since World War Two, both the main centrist parties were knocked out in the first round.

Read also Putin's European Extremist Allies

The migrant crisis has become the key issue. Ninety-thousand people claimed asylum in Austria last year, equivalent to about 1% of the Austrian population, and the Freedom Party has run a campaign against immigration.

While the presidency is a largely ceremonial post, the president has powers to dismiss the government - something Mr Hofer has already threatened to do.

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