Alexander Van der Bellen OMRI GCollSE (German pronunciation: [alɛˈksandɐ fan deːɐ̯ ˈbɛlən]; born 18 January 1944) is an Austrian politician serving as President of Austria since 2017. Before entering politics and becoming spokesperson of the Green Party, he was a Professor of Economics at the University of Vienna. Van der Bellen is a descendant of the Russian aristocratic Van der Bellen family of patrilineal Dutch ancestry. He was born in Austria to Russian and Estonian parents who were refugees from Stalinism. In 1958, he became a naturalised citizen of Austria, together with his parents. From 1994 to 2012 he was a member of the National Council representing the Green Party; he served as party leader and leader of its parliamentary group. Van der Bellen ran as a nominally independent candidate supported by the Greens in the 2016 presidential election, finishing second out of a field of six in the first round, before beating Norbert Hofer, a member of the Freedom Party, in the second round. On 1 July, before Van der Bellen was due to be sworn into office, the results of the second round of voting were annulled by Austria's Constitutional Court on the ground that the absentee ballots had been counted improperly too early, requiring the run-off election to be repeated. On 4 December 2016, he won the repeat election, taking approximately 54% of the vote. He assumed office in January 2017. Van der Bellen has described himself as a centrist liberal and supports green and social liberal policies. As discussed in his 2015 book, he supports the European Union and is an advocate for European federalism. During the presidential election campaign, he appealed to the political centre and was endorsed by the leaders of both the Social Democratic Party and the conservative People's Party, the two mainstream parties that had dominated the politics of the Second Republic over course of several decades following the end of Allied occupation in 1955. Van der Bellen is the second green president of a European Union country (after Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia) and the first one to be elected directly by popular vote.