Austrians Vote for President in Election Watched Across Europe

VIENNA (AP) -
Presidential election campaign posters of Alexander Van der Bellen, who is supported by the Greens, reading "Vote! Don't be surprised." and of Norbert Hofer of the FPOe, reading "For Austria with heart and soul", are seen in Vienna, Austria, November 24, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/File Photo
Presidential election campaign posters of Alexander Van der Bellen, who is supported by the Greens, reading “Vote! Don’t be surprised.” and of Norbert Hofer of the FPOe, reading “For Austria with heart and soul,” are seen in Vienna, Austria. (Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader/File Photo)

In an election sure to reverberate across Europe, Austrian voters are choosing between a right-wing populist and a left-leaning former politician for their next president.

Austria’s presidency is a mostly ceremonial post. But the Sunday election is being watched as a barometer of how populists in other European Union countries may fare in coming months.

The Austrian vote pits Alexander Van der Bellen against Norbert Hofer. A former leading member of the Greens Party, Van der Bellen is the hope of Austrians who want to stop Hofer, a popular leader of the anti-migrant and anti-EU Freedom Party.

Most polling stations opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m. local time. Results are expected late Sunday, but the winner may not be known until absentee ballots are counted on Monday.