Austrian presidential candidates in final television debate before election

VIENNA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The two candidates for the Austrian presidency attended their third and final television debate Thursday evening, ahead of a rerun of the country's presidential election on Sunday.

Aired on Austrian television channel ORF2, Greens-backed independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen and the Freedom Party's Norbert Hofer touched on topics ranging from domestic politics to Austria's ties with the European Union(EU) and other major countries in the world.

The two candidates voiced their opinions on Austria's membership in the EU and whether Austria should leave the bloc. They also talked about the protection of EU's borders and Turkey's accession to the bloc.

Both candidates elaborated how to handle relations with Turkey, Russia, China, and the United States.

They also focused in their debate on unemployment, citizenship, compulsory military service, and Austria's neutral position in military matters.

At the end of the debate, the two candidates were asked what makes an ideal president, Hofer stated that listening to people is key, while Van der Bellen said a president should be non-partisan and represent people of various political backgrounds.

In the previous presidential elections held in May, Hofer lost to Van der Bellen by a narrow margin. But Hofer's party found counting problems in a recount of the vote, which was annulled then.

[ Editor: meng ]


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