Faulty envelopes may delay Austria’s presidential election

Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka.

Austria’s interior minister has asked the government to postpone repeat presidential elections because of faulty absentee ballot envelopes, effectively cancelling a vote planned for next month.

Wolfgang Sobotka’s decision was prompted by a recent finding that hundreds – perhaps thousands – of the envelopes cannot be sealed because the adhesive strips meant to close them are defective.

Austria was to have decided on a president in May after left-leaning contender Alexander Van der Bellen edged out Norbert Hofer of the right-wing Freedom Party.

But the country’s highest court ordered a re-run after the Freedom Party claimed major irregularities. The rerun had been scheduled for October 2.

With the government needing to create a new law to allow for the postponement, any repeat of the vote is unlikely before November.

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