Austria marathon election hatches word of the year

Vienna (AFP) - It was long, ugly and plagued with scandals. Austria's recent marathon election not only tested voters' patience but also produced the word of 2016 on Friday: "Bundespraesidentenstichwahlwiederholungsverschiebung", or "the delay in the repetition of the presidential run-off".

More than a third of 10,000 voters chose the recently created term as their top pick in an annual language poll, run by the University Graz in collaboration with the Austrian Press Agency.

Counting 51 letters in German, "the word's meaning and length are a symbol and ironic commentary for this year's political events," the jury said in a statement.

The term also reflects the language's unique ability to "add substantives at will and create new words with unlimited lengths."

It took more than 350 days of delays and bitter mud-slinging for ex-Greens chief Alexander Van der Bellen to finally be elected president on December 4.

The first run-off in May against his far-right rival Norbert Hofer was annulled over procedural breaches. The October rematch then had to be postponed to December over faulty glue on postal vote envelopes.

Meanwhile, "Oexit" -- the contraction invented for discussions about Austria's exit from the European Union -- was voted ugliest word of the year.

"Its careless usage by the media... falsely reinforces and to a certain extent tries to summon the departure from the EU, when in fact a majority of Austrians are not in favour," the jury said.