Reuters International

Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka talks to the media as he arrives for a cabinet meeting in Vienna, Austria August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

(reuters_tickers)

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria's Interior Ministry said on Friday it was considering postponing the re-run of a presidential election that is scheduled for Oct. 2 on technical grounds after ballot papers for postal voting turned out to be damaged.

The election was originally held in May but the Constitutional Court ordered a repeat poll after the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) successfully challenged the result.

Its candidate Norbert Hofer narrowly lost that vote to former Green Party leader Alexander Van der Bellen but has led in recent opinion polls.

"If an apparent failure in production makes it impossible to properly conduct the election, then it is my duty as the highest-ranking executive of the electoral authority to immediately consider a postponement," Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said in an emailed statement.

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman said a decision was expected early next week.

Over the past days several eligible voters from cities including Vienna and Salzburg have complained about damaged ballot papers.

Around 500 damaged papers have been detected so far, according to daily Die Presse, although how they were damaged is unclear.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Catherine Evans)

reuters_tickers

 Reuters International