Sascha Van der Bellen, born in Nazi-controlled Vienna to a refugee Estonian mother and a fugitive Russian father, has rolled back the worldwide tide of nationalistic populism to win the Austrian presidency by 51.7 to 48.3 per cent.
After the loss of the American presidency to a racist billionaire and the grotesque victory of lies and racism in the British EU referendum, a European country with direct experience of life under right-wing nationalism has elected an independent Green and pro-EU federalist.
His first narrow and eventually annulled victory over right-winger Norbert Hofer, provoked Rod Liddle, associate editor of the Spectator to describe him as:
a hand-wringing Green halfwit representing what George Orwell was habituated to call the pansy left.
Martin Schulz, the German Social Democrat president of the European Parliament, said Alexander ‘Sascha’ Van der Bellen’s victory
is a heavy defeat of nationalism and anti-European, backward-looking populism.
Despite Van der Bellen’s parents being refugees from Stalin, Norbert Hofer repeatedly called him a ‘communist’ and a Cold War Soviet spy.
Hofer campaigned on his own presumed ability to negotiate with nationalists in the Trump White House and in the Kremlin of the Russian nationalist Vladimir Putin.
Just three days after the victorious Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney stunned political commentators by making an absolute promise to the voters of Richmond Park that she will in any event vote against declaring Article 50 to throw Britain out of the European Union, Sascha Van der Bellen told ORF in Vienna last night:
You can actually win elections with a pro-European position.