Austria votes in presidential run-off poll

Austrians have begun voting in a presidential run-off poll that could elect the European Union’s first far-right leader.

The Freedom party contender Norbert Hofer, 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.

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 had run a campaign against immigration.

While the presidency is a largely ceremonial post, the president had powers to dismiss the government.

And a Hofer victory could be the springboard for Freedom Party success in the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for 2018.


BBC/Hauwa Mustapha