Elections in Austria
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politics and government of
On a federal level, there are two main elections: for head of state (Federal President) every six years, and for the 183 seats of the National Council (Nationalrat) every five years by proportional representation.
Austria has a multi-party system. From 1945 to 1986 Austria had two main parties, with a third party also winning seats in the National Council. Since 1986 there have been generally four parties, for a few years even five. At least 4% of the popular vote, or a parliamentary seat in one of the regional constituencies, is needed for representation in the National Council.
The voting age has recently been lowered from 18 to 16 in all federal elections, following some states which had lowered it for state and local elections before that.
Austrian citizens who are at least 16 years old on the day of election are eligible to vote at all elections, citizens who are 18 years or older may stand at elections. Additionally citizens of European Union member states with a permanent residence in Austria may vote at European Union and municipal elections. Citizens who are sentenced to more than one year of imprisonment lose their voting rights. An exception to the rule is the presidential election, where the minimum age to stand as candidate is 35 and members of current or former ruling houses are ineligible for office.
2008 Parliamentary election
|Social Democratic Party of Austria (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs)||1,430,206||−233,780||29.26||−6.08||57||−11|
|Austrian People's Party (Österreichische Volkspartei)||1,269,656||−346,837||25.98||−8.35||51||−15|
|Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs)||857,029||+337,431||17.54||+6.50||34||+13|
|BZÖ – Jörg Haider's List (BZÖ – Liste Jörg Haider)||522,933||+329,394||10.70||+6.59||21||+14|
|The Greens – The Green Alternative (Die Grünen – Die Grüne Alternative)||509,936||−10,194||10.43||−0.62||20||−1|
|Liberal Forum (Liberales Forum)||102,249||*||2.09||*||0||–1 ¶|
|Citizens' Forum Austria Fritz Dinkhauser's List (Bürgerforum Österreich Liste Fritz Dinkhauser)||86,194||*||1.76||*||0||*|
|Communist Party of Austria (Kommunistische Partei Österreichs)||37,362||−10,216||0.76||−0.25||0||—|
|Independent Citizens' Initiative Save Austria (Unabhängige Bürgerinitiative Rettet Österreich)||35,718||*||0.73||*||0||*|
|The Christians (Die Christen)||31,080||*||0.64||*||0||*|
|Animal Rights Party earth–human–animals–nature (Tierrechtspartei earth–human–animals–nature) ||2,224||*||0.05||*||0||*|
|Left (Linke) ||2,138||–119†||0.04||;±0.00†||0||†|
|Dipl.-Ing. Karlheinz Klement (Dipl.-Ing. Karlheinz Klement) ||347||*||0.01||*||0||*|
|List Strong (Liste Stark) ||237||−75||0.00||–0.01||0||—|
|Total (turnout 78.82%; +0.34%)||4,990,952||—||100.0||—||183||—|
|Source: Nohlen D & Stöver P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook p217|
2010 Presidential election
|Candidates (nominating parties)||Votes||%|
|Heinz Fischer (Social Democratic Party of Austria – nominally independent)||2,508,373||79.33|
|Barbara Rosenkranz (Freedom Party of Austria)||481,923||15.24|
|Rudolf Gehring (Christian Party of Austria)||171,668||5.43|
|Valid votes (turnout 53.57%)||3,161,964||100.00|
|Source: Federal Ministry for the Interior|
Austrian constitution defines two types of referendums on the federal level: binding referendum and non-binding referendum.
Binding referendum is mandatory:
- if the President should be removed from office before the end of his term (Article 60, Section 6 of the Federal Constitution), and
- in case of comprehensive change of the Federal Constitution (Article 44, Section 3 of the Federal Constitution).
Binding referendum is facultative (not mandatory) in case of non-comprehensive changes in the Federal Constitution. Such facultative referendum is to be conducted if at least one third of the members of the National Council or the Federal Council requests it.
There was only one binding referendum in post-1945 Austria: European Union membership referendum was called because accession to European Union was deemed to be a comprehensive change to Constitution.
The National Council has the power to call on a non-binding referendum on matters of great importance. Such referendum is called by majority of members of the National Council. Results of such a referendum are advisory. There were two such referendums in post-1945 Austria:
In both cases the "no" option won, and in both cases the National Council accepted the results of the referendum and acted accordingly.
- countriestudies.us - Austrian Electoral System, retrieved 18 May 2010
- Austrian Ministry of Interior - Elections Overview, retrieved 18 May 2010
- Austrian Ministry of Interior - Federal System, retrieved 18 May 2010
- President of Austria: Electoral procedure, retrieved 18 May 2010
- Adam Carr's Election Archive
- Parties and elections
- Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior: Elections
- NSD: European Election Database - Austria publishes regional level election data; allows for comparisons of election results, 1990-2008
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