In blow to far-right, Austria elects pro-Europe Van der Bellen.

Austria elects pro-Europe environmentalist  moderate Alexander Van der Bellen soundly defeated his right-wing rival, Norbert Hofer, on Sunday in the vote for Austria’s presidency.

Jason Thomson, DECEMBER 5, 2016

( The christian Science Monitor) –The tide of populism sweeping through the West hit a stumbling block Sunday in Austria, as the country voted in a left-leaning environmentalist as their president, rejecting his right-wing rival.

Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leader of the country’s Green Party who ran as an independent, soared to victory on a pro-European platform, defeating far-right Norbert Hofer by a projected 53.3 percent to 46.7 percent.

The vote was a repeat of a runoff held in May, but since that initial ballot the global political climate has seen a marked shift, with Britain’s “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union and the victory of Donald Trump in the United States. And while Austria’s vote is being regarded as a rejection of that anti-establishment sentiment, an overwhelming defeat of Italy’s president in a referendum on the very same day may speak of a continuation of the forces that drove “Brexit” and the election of Mr. Trump.