Aaaand … we get a do-over!
English language source pointed out to me by @daneel:
I am currently of the opinion (it’s only been a few hours, maybe my opinion will change) that the decision to repeat the vote was the right one for the country. The court decision and last week’s public court proceedings made it quite clear that laws were broken (by representatives of all parties involved, including Hofer’s), but with no evil intent. Redoing the vote, even if it should lead to the “wrong” result, is preferable to having 40% of the population feeling disenfranchised and being susceptible to various conspiracy theories.
Our constitutional court actually has an English-language version of their press release which contains a layperson’s summary of their reasoning:
Most important quotes:
[…] infringements of the law occurred in
numerous districts in the implementation of the system
of postal voting.
If infringements of the law are of an extent that they
may have had an influence on the election result, it is of
no relevance if manipulations have actually occurred or
The principle of free elections is violated if
government bodies […] transmit information received on the results of the
count of votes to […] media or
research bodies before the closing of the election,
regardless of the conditions required (information “not
to be disclosed” before a certain point in time).
This last point is what got misreported as “there will be no exit polls” in the Guardian article. We’re used to getting reliable projections based on the polling stations that close early the second the last polling station closes; in the age of social media, some results have leaked out ahead of time.
In oral remarks, the court president also reiterated that there was no evidence whatsoever for any actual fraud to have occurred.
As for the result of the repetition, I’m cautiously optimistic.
- Hofer gets a bonus because his party’s appeal was successful and they can play the “we helped uncover the mess” card.
- Hofer still gets “sore loser” points because it is obvious to most that there was no actual fraud.
- Election observers from Hofer’s own party certified the results in each district. They were part of the problem, and their party leadership threw them under the bus. According to interviews, they weren’t thrilled about that.
- Britain hasn’t even exited yet, but seems to be in political chaos. Please keep that up and lets get the British Pound down to less than a Euro
- The number of new asylum seekers is down compared to last year. Another big refugee wave like last summer/fall would be very bad, politically.
So on balance, this should be winnable by the good guys.
(And, as part of my patriotic duty to make my country look good abroad: The FPÖ is not nearly as bad as Golden Dawn (GR) or Jobbik (HU), and a little better than FN (FR) or AFD (DE). Not quite sure about UKIP yet. The UK Tories are probably slightly preferable to the FPÖ, though).