Austrian president to run for second term

Van der Bellen, 78, cited his life experience and desire to ensure that “we are all on the right path.” His announcement has already been met with support. [EPA-EFE/HEINZ-PETER BADER]

President Alexander Van der Bellen, who announced his plans to stand for re-election in autumn on Sunday, is set to face little challenge.

Van der Bellen, 78, cited his life experience and desire to ensure that “we are all on the right path.” His announcement has already been met with support.

“We wish him all the best for his candidacy,” said Chancellor Karl Nehammer of the conservative ÖVP. The presidency is considered to be a largely ceremonial role.

The ÖVP confirmed it would not run its own candidate. “He has my support,” said Günther Platter, ÖVP governor of Tyrol.

The liberal NEOS party also said it would back the president. “NEOS will support Federal President Van der Bellen in his renewed candidacy and look forward to furthering good cooperation,” said NEOS Secretary-General Douglas Hoyos.

Vienna’s Greens, Van der Bellen’s former party, also backed his candidacy. “Van der Bellen has proven that he is a reliable and crisis-proof federal president for all Austrians,” said party head Judith Pühringer.

According to a survey from March, Van der Bellen is Austria’s most popular politician and was even twice as popular as his next contender, Green Justice Minister Alma Zadic.

However, the far-right FPÖ party is expected to put forward a candidate in the presidential race.

“With Van der Bellen, the candidate of the failed system is again running for federal president,” said FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl.

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