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Right-wing candidate is defeated in Austrian poll

By George Jahn

Alexander Van der Bellen, who preached moderation and tolerance, has won Austria's presidential election over right-wing populist Norbert Hofer.

Preliminary results, released shortly after the polls closed yesterday, showed Mr Van der Bellen, former head of the Greens, with 53.5% of the vote and Mr Hofer having 46.4%.

Mr Hofer said in a Facebook post that he was "endlessly sad" about his loss, adding: "I would have been happy to take care of our Austria."

He congratulated his rival and urged Austrians to "stick together and to work together".

While the final result will not be official until absentee votes are counted today, officials said the outstanding ballots will not change the outcome.

The vote was seen as an indicator of how well Eurosceptic candidates will do elsewhere in the EU next year.

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