Prague, Dec 4 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (both Social Democrats, CSSD) congratulated Alexander Van der Bellen on his victory in the Austrian presidential election held yesterday.
Sobotka said on Twitter he was very glad that Van der Bellen won the election. “I am looking forward to good neighbourly cooperation!” he said.
“I congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen, for the second time and hopefully definitively. I am of course glad that it is him (who won),” Zaoralek told CTK.
According to the preliminarily results of the repeated second round of the election held yesterday, Van der Bellen, an unaffiliated candidate supported by the Greens, won more votes than the far-right Norbert Hofer (Austrian Freedom Party).
Czech right-wing opposition TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek said the wish not to challenge the country’s EU membership has won in Austria.
Kalousek said he believes the excellent relations between the Czech Republic and Austria will be further developed.
Czech President Milos Zeman will comment on the election only after the official result is announced, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK.
Zeman expressed support for Hofer previously.
Former human rights minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) said on Facebook that he hopes that far-right populism will also lose in the Czech Republic where it is represented by Zeman.
Czech Communist (opposition KSCM) chairman Vojtech Filip said the repeated election did not change the result and it only divided Austrian society even more.
“The new president will have a lot of work to secure a common attitude of Austria to the new challenges of Europe,” Filip said.
Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) leader Pavel Belobradek, Czech deputy prime minister, offered his congratulations to the winner as well as right-wing opposition leader Petr Fiala (Civic Democrats, ODS).
KDU-CSL deputy chairman Ondrej Benesik said the Austrian voters had a hard choice between two extremes. He said the Austrians seem to consider Van der Bellen the lesser evil and “let’s hope that it it so.”
Benesik said the Austrian Christian democrats and socialists should take a lesson from the presidential election.
The Austrian presidential election was held in the spring, but the second round, in which Van der Bellen narrowly defeated Hofer, was annulled due to mistakes.