- Title: Far-right hopeful Hofer casts his vote in Austria's presidential run-off
- Date: 4th December 2016
- Summary: PINKAFELD, AUSTRIA (DECEMBER 4, 2016) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** AUSTRIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, NORBERT HOFER, STANDING IN FRONT OF POLLING STATION SURROUNDED BY MEDIA VARIOUS OF HOFER WALKING THROUGH CROWD OF REPORTERS (SOUNDBITE) (German) AUSTRIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, NORBERT HOFER, SAYING: "My message to Europe is, I want to commit myself to changing this union in a positive way, and I don't want Austria to leave the European Union, I would like to say that very clearly. It must be our mission that Austria plays a part so that the European Union develops into a subsidiary union. Our strength is not an amorphous entity, our strength is diversity, we need a European Union of diversity." HOFER GIVING STATEMENT TO MEDIA, SEEN FROM BACK (SOUNDBITE) (German) AUSTRIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, NORBERT HOFER, SAYING (ON WHAT HE IS CRITICAL OF): "It would be the accession of Turkey to the European Union. I am not an enemy of Turkey. I have visited Turkey often, there are unbelievably nice people there. But I think it would be better for both countries if this accession does not happen. We are different, we should be friends, we should be partners, but a community within the European Union would probably be characterised by major friction damage." MEDIA FILMING HOFER (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, NORBERT HOFER, SAYING: "When I win I will try to build friendships with a lot of countries. I talked with Steve King yesterday on the phone, and he told me that I should visit Washington very soon. But I've also talked with the ambassador of Russia, and he told me too I should visit Moscow soon. For me it could be important to help build to friendship between Russia and Washington, just to help a little bit, you know? From this small country, Austria. But we are neutral - maybe it's possible to do something for peace." HOFER SURROUNDED BY REPORTERS / HOFER LEAVING HOFER GETTING INTO CAR CAR CARRYING HOFER LEAVING
- Embargoed: 19th December 2016 11:53
- Keywords: FPO far-right Hofer Austria election
- Location: PINKAFELD, AUSTRIA
- City: PINKAFELD, AUSTRIA
- Country: Austria
- Reuters ID: LVA0015BGWX8N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Candidate of the Austrian far-right Freedom Party (FPO), Norbert Hofer, cast his vote in the presidential run-off on Sunday (December 4) in his hometown in eastern Austria.
Hofer is contesting a neck-and-neck run-off against a former leader of the Greens. He ran his campaign on a populist Austria-first platform which included calls to stop immigration and criticism of the European Union.
If he wins, Hofer will become Europe's first far-right head of state since World War Two.
Hofer lost the previous run-off in May by a thin margin. The vote was annulled because of irregularities in the count of postal ballots.
Hofer had voted against Austria's joining the EU in 1994. But he has recently backed off from previous calls for an "Oexit" - Austria's exit from the EU - after Britain's decision in June to leave the bloc led to increased fears and political and economic uncertainty.
"My message to Europe is, I want to commit myself to changing this union in a positive way, and I don't want Austria to leave the European Union, I would like to say that very clearly. It must be our mission that Austria plays a part so that the European Union develops into a subsidiary union," Hofer said after casting his vote in Pinkafeld, a small town some 100 kilometres east of the capital Vienna.
Apart from immigration controls and the EU's failure to find a unified response to last year's migrant crisis, Hofer also stated he is an opponent of Turkey's accession to the bloc over cultural and religious differences.
Hofer said he views Austria in a peacemaking role in international relations, and mentioned he talked to U.S. Republican Congressman Steve King - a supporter of both Donald Trump and Hofer's candidacy - as well as the Russian ambassador to Austria.
"We are neutral - maybe it's possible to do something for peace," Hofer told reporters, referring to Austria's permanent neutrality promulgated by law in 1955.
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