In a matter of weeks Austrians will once again go to the polls to choose their next President, and through him, the political and social future of their country. On one side stands Alexander van der Bellen at the head of the Green Party, and on the other, Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party. The contest has already been mired in controversy, the previous election seeing van der Bellen snatch the lead from Hofer through a last-minute influx of postal ballots. This has cast a shadow of suspicion over the Austrian electoral process that has not gone unnoticed inside or outside the Central European nation, enough so that Austria's constitutional court nullified the result over concerns of fraud, leading to the second election we are now witnessing.
Van der Bellen represents what has become the 'establishment' position of many European governments, favouring greater centralisation of power within the European Union, unlimited influx and aid to Middle Eastern refugees and economic migrants, and the continued expansion of 'multicultural' society. While some would call this a positive agenda, it has been one mired in a disdain for the very nation the van der Bellen desires to become President of; one can question whether a man infamously on record stating “Anyone who loves Austria is shit” can really act in the best interests of the people and nation whom he would represent.
Opposing the Green candidate is Norbert Hofer, whom some might consider a polar opposite of van der Bellen. A Eurosceptic candidate, he has made it a core aspect of his campaign to put the interests of Austria and the Austrian people before that of the European Union or other interests from outside the country. He has opposed the influx of humanitarian and economic refugees into the European Union and Austria proper, rightly citing the massive strain on the fine machinery of the welfare state, and the danger posed to the wellbeing of the Austrian people and culture.
From the perspective of a traditionalist conservative, but even more so, from the perspective of anyone with a rational understanding of the deteriorating situation in Europe, the choice is so obvious as to hardly be a choice at all. Only one of these candidates has committed himself to defending the integrity of the Austrian nation, its people, its culture and society – while the other has openly expressed his disdain for all of these things, and proudly trumpets his desire to alter and edit them to fit his own ideology. For the Austrian who loves his or her nation, and for their fellow Europeans and American sympathisers across the sea, it seems there can be only one choice: Norbert Hofer, President of Austria, for Austria.