Vienna – Austrian presidential candidate Alexander Van der
Bellen on Sunday called the idea of banning burkinis “ridiculous,”
according to news agency APA.
The former Green party leader admitted to the agency that he found the
full-face veil to be “a bit scary.”
But he said that he did not agree with conservatives who have been
calling for a legal restriction on women wearing the burkini, a
full-body swimsuit inspired by the burqa.
Van der Bellen is campaigning for the presidency against far-right
contender Norbert Hofer.
Austrians are set to return to the polls on October 2nd in a repeat
of the country’s presidential election due to widespread procedural
irregularities in the ballot counting.
The swimsuit has stirred controversy in several corners of Europe,
with former French president and upcoming election hopeful Nicolas
Sarkozy calling for it to be banned.
Security concerns following recent terrorism attacks across France
led French municipalities to install a temporary ban on wearing the
burkini in public.
However France’s highest administrative court later suspended the ban
following a legal challenge, ruling that there was no evidence
showing that swimwear disturbs public order.