A scratched election campaign poster of former far-right Freedom Party candidate (FPOe) Norbert Hofer is seen in Vienna, Austria, May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Norbert Hofer from Austria's anti-immigrant Freedom Party (FPOe), failed by a whisker in Sunday's election to become the European Union's first far-right head of state, with only 31,000 votes between him and power.What particularly heartened the far right was the dismal performance of the two mainstream center-right and center-left Austrian parties, which have dominated politics there for decades and which form the current governing coalition."They can never go far enough to fend off the populists," Grabbe told AFP. "Voters prefer a firebrand to a flip-flopper".And while far-right parties appear to be facing a form of glass ceiling when it comes to seizing power, they are still in power-sharing administrations in several countries with a tradition of coalition government.The FPOe has been part of coalitions in Austria's Burgenland state, which borders Hungary, and for several years in the early 2000s were part of the government in Vienna, a "black-blue" coalition with the center-right OeVP.
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