The independent leftist beats far-right candidate Norbert Hofer in the Austrian presidential elections.

Presidential candidates Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPOe) and Alexander Van der Bellen (L) who is supported by the Greens party, take part in a TV debate after the Austrian presidential election in Vienna, Austria, May 22, 2016.
Presidential candidates Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party (FPOe) and Alexander Van der Bellen (L) who is supported by the Greens party, take part in a TV debate after the Austrian presidential election in Vienna, Austria, May 22, 2016.

Independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen wins Austria's cliffhanger elections, although the far-right candidate Norbert Hofer had been leading with a narrow margin.

Sunday's presidential election was resolved by hundreds of thousands of postal ballots as the candidates were going head-to-head until the last minute.

Anti-immigration candidate Hofer conceded defeat after the elections results came in.

Via his Facebook page, Hofer said, "Of course I am sad today. I would have liked to take care of our wonderful country for you as president."

Austria's presidency is a largely ceremonial role but with important powers such as the ability to dismiss the cabinet.

Austria is a relatively prosperous country with low unemployment but it has been at the centre of a record influx of refugees from the Middle East and resentment towards the two centrist parties that have dominated politics since the end of World War Two has grown.

Source: TRT World