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Austria far-right leader against EU exit

July 8, 2016 6:14 pm

Austrian far-right presidential candidate Norbert Hofer has said he does not want his country to leave the European Union, apparently softening his position on a future referendum.

Mr Hofer is aiming to win a rerun of the presidential election on 2 October after his Freedom Party won a court challenge over voting irregularities.

After UK voters backed Brexit, he said Austria might also hold a referendum.

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However, he has now made clear he thinks leaving would be a “mistake”.

“I’m not in favour of an Austrian exit from the European Union; I’ve been annoyed for days that people have assumed I am,” he told Die Presse newspaper (in German).

Mr Hofer was recently narrowly beaten by Alexander Van der Bellen, a Green Party-backed candidate, in a presidential election – but the vote was overturned a week ago after the Freedom Party (FPOe) argued that postal ballots were illegally handled in 94 out of 117 districts.

The far-right leader distanced himself from French National Front leader Marine le Pen, saying he did not share her clear anti-EU policy.

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