Austrian far-right party leader resigns, raising speculation of possible presidential run

BERLIN — The head of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party says Tuesday he is stepping down, raising the possibility that he could run for president of the Alpine nation next year.

Austrian public broadcaster ORF reports that Norbert Hofer will resign as party chief, a post he assumed after a 2019 scandal involving a leading member of the Freedom Party that resulted in it being ejected from the last government.

Hofer lost the 2016 election for the largely ceremonial post of Austrian president against Alexander Van der Bellen.

Austrian media have speculated that Hofer might be put forward again as candidate by the Freedom Party in next year’s presidential election, though he hasn’t publicly confirmed such plans.

The Freedom Party’s parliamentary leader, Herbert Kickl, has been tipped as a possible successor as the head of the party.

Norbert Hofer of Austria’s Freedom Party, FPOE, at a news conference after the presidential election in Vienna, Austria, December 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
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