Austria: Government

Republic of Austria Flag
Coat of Arms of Republic of Austria

Key Figures

Chief of State: Acting Presidents Doris Bures, Karlheinz Kopf, Norbert Hofer

Head of Government: Chancellor Christian Kern

Overview

Government Name: Republic of Austria

Constitution: Formed: 1920; Has 6 main principles: democratic principle, republican principle, federal principle, rule of law, separation of powers, and liberal principle.

Government Type: Federal Republic

Main Powers Election Process Election Cycle Source: ElectionGuide, http://www.electionguide.org/
Executive

The president appoints and swears in the federal chancellor, signs bills into law (no power to veto or refuse to sign the bill), and serves for a figurehead for the Austrian government. The chancellor chairs the weekly cabinet meetings although it does not have the power to direct federal ministers. The vice chancellor acts as a deputy to the federal chancellor.

The president is elected by absolute majority vote through a two-round system. The chancellor is appointed by the president.

President: 6 years; Chancellor: no term limit; Vice-Chancellor: no term limit

Judicial

The supreme court of justice or Oberster Gerichtshof consists of 85 judges organized into 17 senates or panels of five judges each and are tasked with upholding the laws stated in the constitution. The constitutional court or Verfassungsgerichtshof consists of 20 judges including 6 substitutes who are tasked with handling the judicial review of administrative acts. The administrative court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof consists of 2 judges plus other members depending on the importance of the case who are tasked with handling judicial review of administrative acts.

Supreme court judges are nominated by the executive branch departments and appointed by the president. The constitutional court judges are nominated by several executive branch departments and approved by the president. The administrative court judges are recommended by the executive branch departments and appointed by the president. Terms of judges and members are determined by the president.

Life appointment

Legislative

The national council must resolve a bill for it to become a law, and its approval is also required for most of the prerogatives of the federal assembly to be exercised. The federal council approval is mandatory in regards to constitutional laws/regulations limiting competencies of federal states and treaties concerning the jurisdiction of the federal states. The landtage is represented by eight political parties with unicameral legislatures that decide in all matters unless explicitly subject of federal legislation according to the constitution.

The federal council has 62 members elected by indirect vote. The national council has 183 members who are elected through an open-list proportional representation system.

National Council: 5 years; General Council: 5 or 6 years

International Relations

Foreign Policy Trends: Austrian leaders emphasize the unique role the country plays both as an East-West hub and as a moderator between industrialized and developing countries. Austria is active in the United Nations, having been elected to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council in May 2011 and previously holding a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council from 2009 to 2010. Austria has participated in UN peacekeeping missions since 1960, with particular emphasis on the Balkans. It attaches great importance to participation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other international economic organizations.

Regional Trade Blocs: European Union

Treaties: Common Security and Defense Policy


International Organization Participation  Source: CIA World Factbook

ADB AfDB Australia Group BIS BSEC CD
CE CEI CERN EAPC EBRD ECB
EIB EMU ESA EU FAO FATF
IADB IAEA IBRD ICAO ICC ICRM
IDA IEA IFAD IFC IFRCS IGAD
ILO IMF IMO Interpol IOC IOM
IPU ISO ITSO ITU ITUC MIGA
MINURSO NEA NSG OAS OECD OIF
OPCW OSCE Paris Club PCA PFP Schengen Convention
SELEC UN UNCTAD UNDOF UNESCO UNFICYP
UNHCR UNIFIL UNTSO UNWTO UPU WCO
WFTU WHO WIPO WMO WTO ZC

Note: Click table to see details


Environmental Agreements  Source: CIA World Factbook

Air Pollution Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants Air Pollution-Sulfur 85 Air Pollution-Sulfur 94 Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds
Antarctic Treaty Biodiversity Climate Change Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol Desertification Endangered Species
Environmental Modification Hazardous Wastes Law of the Sea Ozone Layer Protection Ship Pollution Tropical Timber 06
Wetlands Whaling

Note: Click table to see details


Tax Authority: Federal Ministry of Finance

Tax Name: VAT


Sources:

CIA World Factbook and U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets except where stated otherwise.

Glossary