Sticking point: Austria's re-run election postponed due to faulty glue on ballots
The blame game is expected in politics, but when it comes to Austria's presidential race, the most hated player is... glue. Faulty ballot seals have caused a re-run election to be postponed.
The election has been anything but ordinary. In fact, it’s been tough for almost everyone involved – from voters, to candidates, to the government.
It all began when far-right candidate Norbert Hofer, who lost by just 31,000 votes in the original election, challenged the final outcome. Judges later cited irregularities in the way some postal ballots had been processed, and a re-run election was called by the Constitutional Court.
But as if that wasn't enough, there's now another twist in the election saga.
Just when voters thought the whole mess would be over after the October 2 re-run, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka has now announced the re-run will be postponed until November 27 or December 4.
According to the latest statement from the Social Democrats' spokeswoman, the parties have now agreed to hold the re-run elections on December 4.
It comes after some postal voters complained about mail-in ballots that failed to seal, likely due to low-quality adhesive. It's a mistake that has left the manufacturer of the 1.5 million faulty voting cards in hot water, with Vienna demanding an explanation for the embarrassing blunder that has made the government the target of internet ridicule and an inspiration for a hashtag – #Wahlkartenfilme – which roughly translates as “the movie on ballot papers.” Austrian Twitter-folk have been toying with famous movie titles, relating them to glue problems and ballot papers.
There is, at least, a silver lining for Austria's youngest voters, with Sobotka announcing he’ll be extending the vote to those who have reached the voting age of 16 since the original election took place in May.
Nevertheless, all eyes are currently glued to the election to see whether the re-run will actually be taking place on one of the newly-suggested dates. Or if another unexpected incident will push the envelope, leaving voters in limbo once again.