Susanne Riess-Passer

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Susanne Riess
Susanne Riess-Passer Nacht des Sports 2008.jpg
Vice Chancellor of Austria
In office
4 February 2000 – 4 February 2003
Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel
Preceded by Wolfgang Schüssel
Succeeded by Herbert Haupt
Personal details
Born (1961-01-03) 3 January 1961 (age 56)
Braunau am Inn, Austria
Political party Freedom Party of Austria

Susanne Riess (born 3 January 1961)[1] is a former Austrian politician of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ).


In the first government headed by Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, which was inaugurated in 2000, she became Vice Chancellor[2] and minister of public services and sports, representing her party in the coalition with Schüssel's Austrian People's Party (ÖVP). The Freedom Party had finished first in the 1999 election, so its leader, Jörg Haider, should have become Chancellor. However, Haider yielded to Schüssel in order to appease international opinion. Although this should have put him in line to become Vice-Chancellor, he realised he was too controversial to have any role in the government. He thus resigned as party leader in favour of Riess-Passer, who had been FPÖ managing chairwoman since 1996.

In the course of the formation of the government in 2000, she became chairwoman and leader of the FPÖ. She was known for being loyal to Haider,[3][4] which earned her the nickname Königskobra (King Cobra).[5]

After severe disagreements with her former political mentor Haider in Summer 2002[6] (the so-called Knittelfeld Putsch), she resigned from all of her posts, as did finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser and the party spokesman in parliament, Peter Westenthaler.[7] After the 2002 elections, she remained Vice Chancellor on a provisional basis until the coalition between ÖVP and FPÖ was renewed in early 2003, and has since had no involvement in politics.

Since 2004, Riess-Passer has been the CEO of the Wüstenrot-Gruppe.[8]


  1. ^ Biography on the Austrian parliament's site. Retrieved on 12 Aug 2011.(in German)
  2. ^ "World Austrians take Haiders resignation in stride". CNNWorld. March 30, 2000. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  3. ^ "Resignation Ploy in Austria". New York Times. March 2, 2000. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  4. ^ Miller, Catherine (November 26, 2002). "The politician who cries wolf". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  5. ^ "No 1586 Susanne Riess-Passer". The Guardian. March 2, 2000. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  6. ^ "Austrian far-right picks new chief". CNNWorld. September 18, 2002. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  7. ^ "Austrian Far-Right Leaders Resign, Shaking Up Governing Coalition". New York Times. September 9, 2002. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
  8. ^ "Dr. Susanne Riess-Passer". SIGNA Holding. Retrieved 2011-01-14. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Wolfgang Schüssel
Vice Chancellor of Austria
Succeeded by
Herbert Haupt
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jörg Haider
FPÖ Party Chairman
Succeeded by
Mathias Reichhold