On January 18th, Alexander Van der Bellen celebrated his 78th birthday. The first round of the federal presidential election is due in November this year. Only if a candidate achieves 50 percent plus one vote, there is no runoff election afterwards. Speculations have long been circulating around the presidential office that Van der Bellen is tending to run for a second six-year term.
“We’re in the final phase of this decision,” Van der Bellen said in the “Kurier” that there will probably be clarity by spring. The Second President of the National Council (SP) left open on Sunday in the ORF “Press Hour” whether Doris Bures already has more concrete information. It was “a great honor” for her to be named as the SPÖ’s Hofburg candidate, said Bures. Postscript: “But I don’t think this question arises.” Should Van der Bellen run again, Bures represents the same position as party leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner and Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig: With all federal presidents before that, as well as with Thomas Klestil and Heinz Fischer, there were “rarely well-known opponent candidates when they took office again “. Only the governor of Burgenland, Hans Peter Doskozil, called for an SP candidacy in any case as an expression of self-confidence.
The weighty voices are also increasing in the ÖVP, including most recently those of Upper Austria’s governor Thomas Stelzer, who advocate supporting Van der Bellen in a re-candidate.
It is still considered unlikely that the incumbent could compete without any serious competition. Norbert Hofer, who lost to Van der Bellen in the 2016 runoff, believes it is “very likely” that his FPÖ will nominate a candidate again.
The third President of the National Council left open in the “Presse” on Sunday whether it will be about himself again. For his decision whether to get back in the ring, it depends on how Van der Bellen “presents himself and what his focus is,” said Hofer. The ex-FP chairman is being pressured in his own ranks to go to the Hofburg election again.