Alexander Van der Bellen winner of Austria's presidential election waves to his supporters in Vienna, Austria, Monday, May 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
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Austria has elected a 72-year-old former leader of the Greens party to be its next president, avoiding becoming the first country in the European Union to vote in a far-right candidate as head of state.The Interior Ministry gave van der Bellen 50.3 percent of the vote, compared to 49.7 percent for Hofer, who had run on an anti-immigration platform.Sunday's provisional result, which did not include the postal ballots, showed Hofer ahead with 51.9 percent to van der Bellen's 48.1 percent.The institute's election-day polling showed 81 percent of voters with a university degree had backed van der Bellen and 86 percent of workers voted for Hofer.The vote in Austria, a country of 8.5 million people, unsettled leaders elsewhere in Europe, particularly in neighbor Germany where a new anti-immigration party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), is on the rise.
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