Europe

Austria: Tight presidential election reveals a split nation

  • FILE In this April 24, 2016 file picture Alexander Van der Bellen,, left, talks with Norbert Hofer, right, of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, during the release of the first results of the first round  of Austria presidential elections in Vienna. Nearly final results for Austria's presidential election Sunday May 22, 2016  showed a right-wing politician neck-to-neck race with a challenger whose views stand in direct opposition to his rival's anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic message. With 97 percent of the vote counted, right-winger Norbert Hofer and Alexander Van der Bellen, a Greens politician running as an independent, each had 50 percent support. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak,File)

    FILE In this April 24, 2016 file picture Alexander Van der Bellen,, left, talks with Norbert Hofer, right, of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, during the release of the first results of the first round of Austria presidential elections in Vienna. Nearly final results for Austria's presidential election Sunday May 22, 2016 showed a right-wing politician neck-to-neck race with a challenger whose views stand in direct opposition to his rival's anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic message. With 97 percent of the vote counted, right-winger Norbert Hofer and Alexander Van der Bellen, a Greens politician running as an independent, each had 50 percent support. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak,File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Alexander Van der Bellen candidate of the Austrian Greens, left, shakes hands with Norbert Hofer, candidate for president of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, during the release of the election results of the Austria presidential elections in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, May 22, 2016. Nearly final results for Austria's presidential election Sunday showed a right-wing politician neck-to-neck race with a challenger whose views stand in direct opposition to his rival's anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic message. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Alexander Van der Bellen candidate of the Austrian Greens, left, shakes hands with Norbert Hofer, candidate for president of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, during the release of the election results of the Austria presidential elections in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, May 22, 2016. Nearly final results for Austria's presidential election Sunday showed a right-wing politician neck-to-neck race with a challenger whose views stand in direct opposition to his rival's anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic message. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

  • Heinz-Christian Strache, head of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, left, congratulates Norbert Hofer, candidate for Austria's Presidency during an after presidential election party in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, May 22, 2016. With all direct ballots counted in today's presidential election, both candidates, right-winger Norbert Hofer and a Greens politician Alexander Van der Bellen, had 50 percent of the vote. Nearly 900,000 absentee ballots are due to be counted tomorrow. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Heinz-Christian Strache, head of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, left, congratulates Norbert Hofer, candidate for Austria's Presidency during an after presidential election party in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, May 22, 2016. With all direct ballots counted in today's presidential election, both candidates, right-winger Norbert Hofer and a Greens politician Alexander Van der Bellen, had 50 percent of the vote. Nearly 900,000 absentee ballots are due to be counted tomorrow. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

A Eurosceptic, anti-immigration right-winger and his left-leaning rival are neck and neck in Austria's presidential election a day after polls closed, and officials are now counting absentee ballots to determine who will win.

Direct votes Sunday gave right-winger Norbert Hofer 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent for Alexander Van der Bellen, a Greens politician running as an independent. But final projections that include still-to-be-counted absentee ballots put each at 50 percent with Van der Bellen narrowly ahead.

About 700,000 absentee ballots — close to a sixth of total votes cast — are slated to be counted by Monday evening for a final tally.

Whoever wins, Sunday's voting has revealed a profound split over which direction the nation should now take, particularly over migration and the future of the European Union.