VIENNA (AP) — An Austrian court has cleared a left-wing politician of defaming right-wing presidential candidate Norbert Hofer by suggesting he is a Nazi.
Hofer took Social Democrat Ingo Mayr to court after Hofer won about a third of the vote in the first round of elections in April. Among other things, Mayr had said that a third of the electorate “chose a Nazi.”
The court on Friday noted that Hofer’s Freedom Party not only “does not distance itself from extreme-right groups” but seeks contact with them.
Hofer narrowly lost to left-leaning candidate Alexander Van der Bellen in a May runoff that was annulled after the Freedom Party said the vote was marred by major irregularities during ballot counts. The two face off again Oct. 2.
Hofer’s lawyer says he will appeal.