The Austrian presidential election was just postponed til December, which will leave the country without a president for six months!
Why? Faulty glue!
- In Austria, presidential elections are held once every 6 years.
- If no one gets over 50% of the vote in the first round of the election, a second round is held with only the top two candidates.
- In the 2016 Presidential election in Austria, there were two rounds: one in April, and one in May.
- In the first round in April, Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party of Austria got the most votes, while Alexander van der Bellen of the Austrian Greens came in second.
- The second round was held in May, and Van der Bellen beat Hofer after the postal ballots were counted.
- According to Austrian courts, electoral rules were broken and votes were miscounted, though without fraud being involved.
- So, a second round re-vote was scheduled for October.
- But a new issue has arisen: glue!
- The adhesive seals on the postal votes were discovered by a random citizen to have been coming undone by a random citizen. The person reported it to her local paper, causing a nationwide issue.
- So, the second round re-vote which was scheduled for October is now postponed to December 4th!
- This is embarrassing for Chancellor Christian Kern’s government, which has been without a president since July 8th when Heinz Fischer left.
What were the reactions of Van der Bellen, Hofer, and the public?
Van der Bellen’s Reaction
Van der Bellen sees the faulty glue as a metaphor for the problems in Austria, saying, “what we need most of all is for us to stick together.” After Brexit has caused instability, economically and politically, he has a vision of unity for Austria.
He said about the glue incident that, “It cannot be the case that in past years it was possible to vote with these voting cards, but this time it hasn’t worked. There’ll be a lot of people sniggering at us from abroad, but I could also make a few jokes about a number of other countries if necessary.”
Hofer was openly upset at the issue. Hofer’s reaction was similar to Van der Bellen, in that he thinks the issue is representative of Austria’s systemic troubles. “We now have a new date because the organization has failed once again, because this republic is not capable of carrying out elections in an orderly way.”
Hofer calls now for banning postal voting. This makes sense since, in the second round, Hofer was beaten after the postal votes were counted.
The whole issue with the faulty glue began when an ordinary Austrian woman noticed throughout the course of her day, before sending her postal vote in, that the glue was coming undone. She told her local paper, and soon the whole country was talking about it. Some people are glad she said something, while others see her as a villain for causing election delays.
The Austrian police are investigating the cause of the faulty glue. The leading theory is that they were overheated while being transported and the glue dried out.