Austrian far-right makes gains in EU vote, but comes in third

Austria's far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) made significant gains in the European election but fell short of its much touted goal to finish second, final results showed Monday.

The conservative People's Party (OeVP) won Sunday's vote with 27 percent, ahead of its ruling partners the Social Democrats (SPOe) at 24 percent, the final tally including absentee ballots showed.

Support for the FPOe -- which has been trying to set up a far-right group in the European Parliament with like-minded parties like France's National Front and Italy's Northern League -- jumped up five points to 19.7 percent, compared with the 2009 EU election.

But the party, which has raged against an "anti-democratic" EU which encroaches on national sovereignty, failed to bump one of the ruling parties to third place and finish second as it had hoped.

The OeVP and SPOe -- which have ruled Austria together or separately since the end of World War II -- each take five seats in the incoming parliament.

The FPOe will have four, up from two in the outgoing legislature, while the environmental Greens have three seats with 14.5 percent of the vote.

A new liberal NEOS group won 8.1 percent and gains one MEP. The Alliance for Austria's Future, founded by the former far-right leader Joerg Haider before he was killed in a car crash in 2008, will exit the EU parliament after failing to scrape together even half a percentage point.