Vienna: Up to 475,000 viewers have tuned in to the first of three debates between the two candidates for the repeat Austrian presidential election on television station Puls 4 on Sunday evening.

Citing local media, Xinhua reported the figures on Monday. They fall in line with the number of viewers the two candidates, Greens-backed Alexander Van der Bellen and the Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer, had in their television debates prior to the initial run-off election in May.

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In a survey of 500 viewers of the debate, research and marketing institute OGM found 49% thought Hofer was the winner, compared to 46% in favour of Van der Bellen.

Conversely when asked who would be the better “mediator and connector” for the country, 52% backed the former Greens party leader, compared to 41% for Hofer.