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Austria blames ballot card printer for ‘gluegate’ election fiasco

Ballot papers for postal voting are seen seen in this photo illustration

Austria’s interior minister put the blame for yet another delay to the presidential election – termed “gluegate” by local reporters – on the company that made the postal ballots, many of which fell apart due to faulty adhesive.

Wolfgang Sobotka, ultimately responsible for organising elections in the country that almost voted in Europe’s first far-right head of state in decades in May, said his department was not at fault.

“Nothing went wrong in the administration,” the minister told reporters on Tuesday, saying that he would seek compensation from the printing company.

“Politicians cannot be held responsible for a technical failure … If you tender for such an order, the government or a minister, just like any normal citizen, trusts that this order will be executed in an orderly fashion.”

The company, Kbprint, declined to comment.

Media in Austria and abroad derided Monday’s decision to postpone the election for a second time after a court annulled a run-off vote between a former Greens leader and the far-right candidate, due to sloppy ballot counting.

Ministers on the way into a cabinet meeting on Tuesday looked annoyed, with Agriculture Minister Andrae Rupprechter grumbling: “It’s not great,” as he hastily walked past reporters.

Some officials sought to lay the blame outside of Austria. Franz Lang from the federal crime office pointed to the fact that one batch of the glue delivered to the printing company had in fact come from Germany.

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