Austrian Interior Minister, Wolfgang Sobotka.jpg
Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka
Photograph: HINA/ Nikša MILETIĆ/ ik

Austria confirmed Monday that the presidential run-off election between Green-affiliated Alexander Van der Bellen and his far-right opponent Norbert Hofer is to be postponed until December 4.

Originally set for October 2, the vote was postponed due to problems with the glue on postal vote envelopes, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka announced earlier in the day.

Sobotka had ordered an investigation into the problems with sticking strips after it emerged that some of them had been coming unstuck, potentially invalidating thousands of ballots.

Austrians have already been waiting five months for a new president after a May result was annulled. The country's Constitutional Court ruled that ballots and voting results had been handled improperly.

Economics professor Van der Bellen stated that he regretted the postponement, but took it in stride. "This glue mistake has shown us one thing: We need cohesion. More than ever," he said.

Meanwhile the Freedom Party (FPOe) of Van der Bellen's rival Hofer criticized the postponement sharply.

"The government is not in the position to ensure a proper punctual election. The embarrassments have no end," said FPOe General Secretary Herbert Kickl.

According to the Interior Ministry, there had never been a problem with the private printers that produced the envelopes before.

The government intends to file a claim for compensation against the private firm, which the ministry said had been used for previous national and state elections. A state printer will be tasked to produce the new envelopes.

Every vote counts in the repeat poll, with Van der Bellen having won the cancelled May run-off by a margin of 0.6 percentage points, prompting Norbert Hofer to cry foul.

Some 880,000 people cast postal ballots in the vote in May.

Latest news

Croat member of Bosnia's state presidency says crisis won't escalate

The Croat member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's collective State Presidency, Dragan Covic, said on Friday that the crisis caused by the unilateral submission of a request for a review of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) genocide ruling from 2007 against Serbia would not escalate into an armed conflict.

IAEA: Iran's enriched uranium stock far below allowed limit

Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium is currently less than half of what is allowed under the Islamic Republic's nuclear agreement with major powers, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported Friday.

Trump attacks media at conservative gathering

US President Donald Trump lambasted the media in remarks to a gathering of conservative activists outside Washington Friday, doubling down on charges that some parts of the press are the "enemy."

Birth anniversary of Croatia's 1st female journalist to be marked

The Centre for Women's Studies, which manages the Marija Juric Zagorka Memorial Apartment and carries out documentary-information, educational and cultural activities related to the study and promotion of the heritage of this novelist and Croatia's first female journalist, stated on Friday that it was marking the 144th anniversary of the birth of Marija Juric Zagorka next week.

Italian police arrest 55 doctors, nurses for being clock-in cheats

Police on Friday arrested 55 doctors, nurses, and other staffers at a Naples public hospital for being clock-in cheats.

Works on new section of Istrian Y motorway in autumn, says minister

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic said on Friday works on the second stage of the Istrian Y motorway were expected to begin in the autumn, an investment of EUR 150 million in which Croatian companies would be included.

SDP leader: Brexit, Europe's cross road

Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernadic on Friday said at a conference of the Party of European Socialists (PES) that Great Britain's exit is a cross-road for the European Union (EU).

Erdogan, in campaign mode, floats referendum on death penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while campaigning Friday for a referendum on a constitutional reform package to empower his office, suggested he could put forward another popular vote to reintroduce the death penalty.

S Africa opposition sues government for not arresting Sudan president

South Africa’s main opposition party Friday filed criminal charges against several government and police officials for failing in 2015 to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Project Slavonia one of key government goals, PM says

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Friday opened the 22nd international fair of the economy, trades and crafts and agriculture Viroexpo 2017, saying it fit into one of the government's key goals, work on Project Slavonia.

Germany says Russia plan for Reichstag replica 'speaks for itself'

A Russian plan to construct a replica of the Reichstag so that military enthusiasts can re-enact the Red Army's 1945 capture of Berlin is "surprising and speaks for itself," a German government spokeswoman said Friday.

Transport minister does not rule out higher motorway tolls

Commenting on a planned rise in tolls for motorways managed by the state-run HAC motorway operator, Maritime, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic on Friday recalled that HAC's debt totalled EUR 5.2 billion, and 1.2 billion of that amount was due this year, which HAC could not pay back from its revenues.