Europe

The Latest: Austria voter comments reflect tight race

  • Alexander Van der Bellen, candidate of the Austrian Greens, briefs the media besides his wife Doris Schmidauer after leaving a polling station and casting their votes in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Austria holds presidential elections in a contest pitting a left-leaning contender against a right-winger supported by a populist anti-immigration party. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

    Alexander Van der Bellen, candidate of the Austrian Greens, briefs the media besides his wife Doris Schmidauer after leaving a polling station and casting their votes in Vienna, Austria, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Austria holds presidential elections in a contest pitting a left-leaning contender against a right-winger supported by a populist anti-immigration party. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)  (The Associated Press)

  • Norbert Hofer of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, speakes to press after casting his vote during the Austrian presidential elections, in Pinkafeld, Austria, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Norbert Hofer of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, speakes to press after casting his vote during the Austrian presidential elections, in Pinkafeld, Austria, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

  • Norbert Hofer of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, takes pictures with a girl after casting his vote during the Austrian presidential elections, in Pinkafeld, Austria, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Norbert Hofer of Austria's Freedom Party, FPOE, takes pictures with a girl after casting his vote during the Austrian presidential elections, in Pinkafeld, Austria, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on Austria's presidential election (all times local):

10:50 a.m.

As Austrians start casting ballots for president, their comments reflect a tight race between left-leaning Alexander Van der Bellen and right-wing populist Norbert Hofer.

Guenther Poiker is unequivocal, saying outside of a Vienna polling station "I'm a Van der Bellen voter." But Alexander Mautner figures that "Hofer is going to win, by a very small margin."

The election is a rerun from May, which Van der Bellen won by less than 1 percentage point. It is being re-held following a court ruling after Hofer's Freedom Party claimed widespread irregularities.

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

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7:30 a.m.

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.