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The followers of Alexander Van der Bellen, the environmental candidate for the Austrian presidential elections, had printed T-shirts, organized concerts and flooded social networks with messages in his favor, but this Sunday they did not hide their surprise after his victory.
Hundreds of people, gathered in a Viennese art nouveau room reserved for the occasion, exulted when they learned of Van der Bellen's victory over the far-right candidate, Norbert Hofer.
"I was totally surprised, because after the election of Donald Trump and the vote in favor of Brexit, I was no longer very sure what was going to happen in Austria (...) and I did not have much confidence," acknowledged Wolfgang Pietrisch, a former diplomat 69 years old.
Although the role of the head of state is essentially formal in Austria, supporters of Van der Bellen, an austere university professor who portrayed himself as independent, had done everything possible to achieve victory.
"Many people from civil society decided to take action, to go out to the streets to convince voters to vote in favor of liberalism, openness, diversity," explained Natalia Nadasma, a 21-year-old artist.
As Christoph Krottmayer, a 35-year-old social worker: “I have spent 11 months involved in this campaign, last night I was until two in the morning in the cafes to talk to people and convince them (…) It worked”.
These elections were a repeat of the second round held last May, which was annulled by an appeal filed by Hofer's Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), which denounced irregularities.
"I may suddenly cry with relief," said Krottmayer, who wore a T-shirt with the word "Öbama" - Ö as Österreich (Austria in German) - with the Van der Bellen effigy.
A t-shirt that the volunteers of the environmentalist campaign distributed in many neighborhoods.
Van der Bellen paid tribute to these ambassadors and attributed their success to the commitment of "tens of thousands of people", "independent" of the parties, who organized the mobilization in their favor "with concerts, videos on Facebook", etc.
In social networks, its militants knew how to innovate against the FPÖ, which had been demonstrating its dominance of the internet for years. To the point of transforming the serious economics professor into a fashionable personality on WhatsApp or Twitter. His victory is "a historic moment" for Alexandra Raute, who celebrated the result with her two girls.