French president hails Austrian ecologist's win over far-right rival

23rd May 2016, Comments 0 comments

French President Francois Hollande on Monday "warmly" congratulated Austrian ecologist candidate Alexander Van der Bellen for his razor-thin victory over his far-right rival to clinch the presidency.

Hollande will be "glad to cooperate with him," the president's office said, adding that he "is also counting on" the new chancellor, Christian Kern, for continued cooperation on both the bilateral and European levels.

Earlier, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted his "relief to see the Austrians reject populism and extremism," adding: "Everyone in Europe should learn from this."

Norbert Hofer of the anti-immigration, populist Freedom Party (FPOe) narrowly failed to become the EU's first far-right president after Van der Bellen scraped victory in Sunday's second-round run-off vote.

Van der Bellen won 50.3 percent of the vote, against 49.7 percent for Hofer, who had been presented as the FPOe's friendly and moderate face.

© 2016 AFP

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