Austrian President-elect says his win a “clear signal” for European values

Austrian President-elect Alexander Van der Bellen calls his victory a “clear signal” that European values still work and urges for “tactful” dialogue.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA (DECEMBER, 6, 2016) (REUTERS) – Austrian president-elect Alexander van der Bellen said Tuesday (December 6) that his victory over the far-right Freedom Party’s candidate Norbert Hofer had sent a message that traditional European values still work and urged the divided continent to a “tactful” dialogue on its future.

“I believe the result of December the 4 elections is a clear signal, a clear order if you wish… A red-white-red signal sent to European capitals, but also villages,” Van der Bellen told reporters in Vienna, referring to the colours of the Austrian flag.

“[A] signal showing that a policy of unity, a policy claiming and reflecting joint European values not only makes sense, but can lead to success.”

The former Greens leaders triumphed over Hofer in a repeat run-off vote on Sunday with 53.8 to 46.2 per cent of the votes.

The outcome is seen as a defeat for Europe’s surging far right. Van der Bellen called the camps, polarized over many issues, from the handling of the migration crisis to the future of the European Union, to start a decent dialogue.

“When you dance the waltz, it – trivially – takes two to dance the waltz. We can only dance the waltz together,” he said.

Van der Bellen’s win may ease the pressure of a Freedom Party surge on Austria’s traditionally dominating parties, the Social Democrats and Austrian People’s Party, now running a grand coalition government and on a halfway mark between elections.