Austrian President re-elected for second term

President Heinz Fischer of Austria appeared to be heading for a landslide victory in his bid for a second term on Sunday, winning nearly 80 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results that were not expected to change.

A far-right wing candidate, known for her questioning of Austria’s laws against Holocaust denial, captured about 15 percent, the results showed.

The other major parties, the center-right People’s Party and the Greens, decided not to field candidates for the mainly ceremonial office since neither thought it could defeat Mr. Fischer, a Social Democrat, who enjoyed high popularity ratings throughout his first six-year-term, New York Times reports.

Local media reported that turnout was sluggish during the first half of the warm and sunny day, with fewer people casting ballots than during the last elections on April 25, 2004. Around 6.4 million Austrians aged 16 and older are eligible to vote.

Fischer, 71, is known for his caution and diplomacy. He served as science minister and held various leadership positions in his party and in parliament before winning the presidency six years ago.

Rosenkranz, in contrast, has caused controversy for suggesting that Austria's law banning the glorification of the Nazis is not in line with the country's constitution and hinders freedom of expression, The Associated Press informs.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has congratulated the incumbent Austrian President Heinz Fischer who leads in presidential elections count and will be possibly re-elected for a second six-year term.

Russian government's press-service said Putin congratulated Fischer with high preliminary results by phone, according to RIA Novosti.

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