Austrians were called to the polling stations on Sunday for a ballot of crucial importance. Had the extreme right candidate Norbert Hofer (FPO) beaten his opponent in the second round of the Presidential elections, Austria would have been the first EU member country with an openly xenophobic head of state. A victory for the FPO candidate - a party founded by neo-nazis and whose program is incompatible with the European Union values and the Amsterdam Treaty - would have caused yet another crisis in an already ailing regional integration process.
Norbert Hofer, presidential candidate of the anti-migrant and anti-EU Freedom Party FPOe, and his wife Verena Hofer, left, after losing in the first round (Photo: AP/Ronald Zak)
Presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen, a former leading member of the Greens Party, celebrates on the podium at a party of his supporters in Austria's capital Vienna Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, after being declared the winner in the first round (Photo: AP/Matthias Schrader)