President of Austria

The President of Austria (German: Bundespräsident der Republik Österreich, lit. 'Federal President of the Republic of Austria') is the head of state of the Austrian Republic. Though theoretically entrusted with great power by the constitution, in practice the president is mainly a ceremonial and symbolic figurehead.

The president is directly elected by universal suffrage every six years and can continuously remain in office for twelve years. The president is a supreme executive organ – alongside with the ministers, state secretaries and members of state governments. One of the most important presidential tasks is the appointment of the chancellor and, upon his advice, the other members of the government.

The president ranks first in Austria's order of precedence, being above the President of the National Council and the chancellor. The president's workplaces are located in the Leopoldine Wing of the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna.

The office of president was created by the constitution on 1 October 1920. According to the constitutional amendment of 1929, the president was to be directly elected by the people. Nevertheless, the re-election of president Wilhelm Miklas in 1931 was performed by the Federal Assembly. Miklas remained under the dictatorial federal state until his resignation in 1938. Even Karl Renner was still elected by the Federal Assembly as of 20 December 1945. Only in 1951, Theodor Körner became the first president to be elected by the people.

Many presidents have gained tremendous popularity while in office, and no president has ever lost a bid for re-election, although Kurt Waldheim did not run for a second term. Five presidents have died in office. From 2004 to 2016, the office was occupied by social democrat Heinz Fischer. Since the establishment of the popular vote in 1951, only members and nominees of the Social Democratic Party and the People's Party had been elected president, until the election of the Green-endorsed incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen in 2016.

President of Austria
Bundespräsident der Republik Österreich
Coat of arms of Austria
Flag of Austria (state)
Frauen-Fußballnationalmannschaft Österreich EM 2017 Empfang Bundespräsident 10 Alexander Van der Bellen
Incumbent
Alexander Van der Bellen

since 26 January 2017
Executive branch in Austrian Politics
Presidential Chancellery
StyleMr. President
(normal)
His Excellency
(diplomatic)
StatusHead of State
ResidenceLeopoldine Wing, Hofburg Imperial Palace
SeatInnere Stadt, Vienna
NominatorPolitical parties or self-nomination
AppointerDirect popular vote
sworn in by the Federal Assembly
Term lengthSix years, renewable once
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Austria
PrecursorPresident of the Constituent National Assembly
Formation
  • Date created:
    1 October 1920
  • Date effective:
    10 November 1920
First holderMichael Hainisch
Salary328,000 annually[1]
Websitebundespraesident.at (in German)

History

Prior to the collapse of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire towards the end of World War I, what now is the Republic of Austria had been part of a monarchy with an emperor as its head of state and chief executive. The empire noticeably began to fracture in late 1917 and manifestly disintegrated into a number of independent states over the course of the following year.

Effective 21 October 1918, the Imperial Council parliamentarians representing the empire's ethnically German provinces formed a Provisional National Assembly for their paralyzed rump state and appointed veteran party leader Karl Seitz as one of their three largely coequal chairmen (21 October 1918 – 16 February 1919). As chairman, he became an ex officio member of the State Council (Deutschösterreichischer Staatsrat). On 12 November 1918, the State Council collectively assumed the functions of head of state according to a resolution of the National Assembly.

On 11 November, Emperor Charles I announced "I relinquish every participation in the administration of the State. Likewise I have released the members of the Austrian Government from their offices".[2] The next day, parliament proclaimed the Republic of German-Austria. The assembly presidents (Seitz, Franz Dinghofer and Johann Nepomuk Hauser) continued to serve as acting heads of state until 4 March 1919, when the Constituent National Assembly collectively assumed these functions. Seitz (5 March 1919 – 10 November 1920) was the only President of the Constituent National Assembly.

Karl Seitz performed the duties of head of state according to a law of 1 October 1920, which transferred these duties to the "former president of the National Constituent Assembly" for the period from 10 November 1920, to the day of inaugurating the first president (9 December 1920). Since Austria had not finalized its decision to structure itself as a federation prior to the formal promulgation of the Constitution of Austria on 1 October 1920, referring to Seitz as president would have been inaccurate. Austria's first Bundespräsident proper thus was Michael Hainisch, Karl Seitz' immediate successor. In a related note, many popular sources quote some more or less random date between October 1918 and March 1919 as the beginning of Seitz' tenure. While most of them are merely misleading, others are plainly wrong: even though Seitz was appointed president of the Provisional National Assembly in October 1918, it would have been impossible for him to serve as Bundespräsident, since the republic has not even been proclaimed back-then.

The constitution originally defined Austria to be a parliamentary republic. Originally, the constitution was radically parliamentarian in character. The bicameral parliament, called the Federal Assembly, not only possessed legislative power, but also a good deal of executive power as well. The government was appointed by the National Council rather than the president, who in turn was elected by both houses of the Federal Assembly rather than the people. The president's term of office was four rather than six years. The president was answerable to the Federal Assembly and, in particular, had no authority to dissolve the National Council. Not even having much actual influence on the appointment of Constitutional Court justices, the president was confined to a nearly exclusively ceremonial role.

The role and nature of the president was the result of a compromise reached during the drafting of the constitution. The Social Democrats would have preferred that the president of the National Council serves as head of state, while the Christian Socials wanted a president with executive powers similar to those of the president of Germany. In the end, the framers enacted a compromise – while a separate presidency was created in accordance with the wishes of the Christian Socials, his role was almost entirely ceremonial to appease the Social Democrats. It was under this constitutional framework that Michael Hainisch and Wilhelm Miklas assumed office on 9 December 1920 and 10 December 1928, respectively.

The parliamentary system prescribed by the constitution was highly unpopular, however, with the authoritarian Heimwehr movement evolving during the 1920s. The Heimwehr was in favor of a system granting more powers to the president. On 7 December 1929, under growing pressure from the Heimwehr, the constitution was amended to give the president the sweeping executive and legislative authority he formally still has. It also called for the office to be filled by popular vote for a term of six years. The first election was scheduled for 1934. However, owing to the growing worldwide financial crisis, all parties agreed to suspend the election in favour of having Miklas reelected by parliament.

Only three years later, however, the Fatherland Front – an alliance of the Heimwehr and the Christian Social Party – tore down Austrian parliamentarism altogether, formally annulling the constitution on 1 May 1934. Though Austria now was a dictatorship in all but name, power was concentrated in the hands of the Chancellor, not those of the president. Wilhelm Miklas was stripped of the powers he'd gained in 1929, but agreed to act as a figurehead of institutional continuity anyway. He was not entirely powerless, however – during the Anschluss crisis, he provided some of the stiffest resistance to the Nazi demands. He technically remained in office until 13 March 1938, the day Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany and thus lost sovereignty.

When Austria re-established itself as an independent state on 27 April 1945, the party leaders forming the provisional government decided not to frame a new constitution, reverting instead to that of 1920, as amended in 1929. Even though this revision was still somewhat controversial at that point, it was part of Austria's most recent constitutional framework, giving it at least some much-needed form of democratic legitimacy, and the party chairs were afraid that lengthy discussion might provoke the Red Army then in control of Vienna to barge in. The constitution thus reenacted effective 1 May therefore still included the provision calling for a president elected by popular vote. Following the November 1945 National Council elections, however, the National Assembly temporarily suspended this provision and installed Karl Renner as the president of Austria as of 20 December. The suspension in question seems to have been motivated mainly by lack of cash: no attempt was ever made to prolong it, and the benign septuagenarian Renner had been the universally respected provisional head of state anyway. Starting with the 1951 election of Renner's successor Theodor Körner, all presidents have in fact been elected by the people.

Election

The president of Austria is elected by popular vote for a term of six years and is limited to two consecutive terms of office. Voting is open to all people entitled to vote in general parliamentary elections, which in practice means that suffrage is universal for all Austrian citizens over the age of sixteen that have not been convicted of a jail term of more than one year of imprisonment. (Even so, they regain the right to vote six months after their release from prison.)

Until 1 October 2011, with the exception of members of any ruling or formerly ruling dynastic houses (a measure of precaution against monarchist subversion, and primarily aimed at members of the House of Habsburg), anyone entitled to vote in elections to the National Council who is at least 35 years of age is eligible for the office of president. The exception of ruling or formerly ruling dynasties has been abolished meanwhile within the Wahlrechtsänderungsgesetz 2011 (Amendment of the law on the right to vote 2011) due to an initiative by Ulrich Habsburg-Lothringen.[3]

The president is elected under the two-round system. This means that if no candidate receives an absolute majority (i.e. more than 50%) of votes cast in the first round, then a second ballot occurs in which only those two candidates who received the greatest number of votes in the first round may stand. However the constitution also provides that the group that nominates one of these two candidates may instead nominate an alternative candidate in the second round. If there is only one candidate standing in a presidential election then the electorate is granted the opportunity to either accept or reject the candidate in a referendum.

While in office the president cannot belong to an elected body or hold any other position.

Oath of office

Article 62 of the Austrian Constitution provides that the president must take the following oath or affirmation of office in the presence of the Federal Assembly (although the addition of a religious asseveration is admissible):

"I solemnly promise that I shall faithfully observe the Constitution and all the laws of the Republic and shall fulfill my duty to the best of my knowledge and belief."

Latest elections

 Summary of the 2016 Austrian presidential election results
Candidates (party membership) First round Second round (annulled) Second round (re-run)
Votes % Votes % Votes %
Norbert Hofer (Freedom Party of Austria) 1,499,971 35.1 2,220,654 49.7 2,124,661 46.2
Alexander Van der Bellen (The Greens) 913,218 21.3 2,251,517 50.3 2,472,892 53.8
Irmgard Griss (independent) 810,641 18.9
Rudolf Hundstorfer (Social Democratic Party of Austria) 482,790 11.3
Andreas Khol (Austrian People's Party) 475,767 11.1
Richard Lugner (independent) 96,783 2.3
Valid votes 4,279,170 97.9 4,472,171 96.4 4,597,553 96.8
Invalid votes 92,655 2.1 164,875 3.6 151,851 3.2
Total votes 4,371,825 68.5 4,637,046 72.7 4,749,404 74.2
Eligible voters 6,382,507 6,382,507 6,399,572
Source: Bundesministerium für Inneres

Legality of acts

Basics

Acts of the president are referred to as resolutions. Most of them require countersignature. While so-called appointment certificates are issued when appointing a new government, the dismissal of the government does not require a written form, but merely has to be brought to the attention of the persons concerned. The government can therefore also be dismissed against its will.

Advice and countersignature

Although the constitution vests the president with great power, his acts are bound to proposals and countersignatures, if the constitution doesn't say otherwise.[4] This means that the president can only become active on advice of the Government (or a Minister). In addition, most acts of the president are only valid if they are countersigned by the Chancellor or by the Minister responsible. This considerably restricts the possibilities of the president to act on his own.

This however, also means that the president does not have to accept a proposal from the government either. He could even replace the Chancellor, to receive proposals such at will, and dissolve the National Council before it can initiate a vote of no confidence against the new Chancellor. So far – although this would not be unconstitutional – this has never been done for real-political reasons.

The following acts of the president do not require a proposal:

  • The appointment of the Chancellor
  • The dismissal of the Chancellor or the entire government
  • The appointment of a provisional government
  • The inauguration of the Chancellor, ministers, state secretaries, governors etc
  • The prevailing doctrine and practice also excludes mere representation tasks from propositions

The following acts of the president require no countersignature:

  • The dismissal of the government
  • The dismissal of an individual minister (required a proposal of the Chancellor instead)
  • The convocation of an extraordinary meeting of the National Council
  • Directives within the execution of findings of the Constitutional Court

Powers and duties

Appointing the government

Hofburg - Leopoldinischer Trakt
The Leopoldine Wing of the Hofburg in Vienna, home to the offices of the president

The president appoints the chancellor and, upon his advice, the other members of the government and the state secretaries.[5] The president is not bound to any legal specifications when appointing the chancellor. However, since the National Council is empowered to remove any individual member of the government or even the entire government at any time through a vote of no confidence, the president is de facto obliged to respect majority situations within the National Council.

Until the year 2000, it has been an unwritten law that the president charges the top candidate of the largest party with the formation of a new government. As the government formation of 2000 has shown, the president cannot force the existence of a minority government. The initiative of forming a government can therefore entirely rely on interested parties. Since individual members of the government are appointed by the president, on advice of the chancellor, the president is still able to decline the appointment of a proposed minister or state secretary.

So far, only three cases have been known in which the president refused to appoint proposed government candidates. Karl Renner rejected a Minister – suspected of corruption – for a re-appointment. Thomas Klestil refused to appoint two ministers; one of the them was involved in a criminal case and the other had been frequently noticed for extreme and xenophobic statements during the election campaign. In 1953, president Theodor Körner bluntly declined the demands of ÖVP-chancellor Leopold Figl to appoint a concentration government with the participation of the Federation of Independents.

Dismissing the government

The president is not bound to an advice when dismissing the chancellor or the entire government. He can therefore dismiss them at his own discretion. Only the dismissal of individual members of the government are bound to an advice of the chancellor. So far, a dismissal of the entire government against its will has never occurred. president Wilhelm Miklas did not make use of his dismissal right when chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß terminated the constitution to proclaim the Austrian Federal State.

Dissolving the National Council

The president can dissolve the National Council at the request of the government, but only once for the same reason.[6] The legal consequences of a parliamentary dissolution by the president differentiates to those of a self-dissolution of the National Council. If the president ends the legislative period, the National Council is immediately dissolved and thus incapacitated. However, the standing subcommittee of the principal committee remains as emergency committee until the newly elected National Council convenes. Prior to that, the president may issue emergency decrees on request of the government and with the consent of the standing subcommittee of the principal committee. In case of self-dissolution, the old National Council meets until a new one is elected.

So far only Wilhelm Miklas has made use of the dissolution right, after the Christian Social Party had lost its coalition partner and thus the majority in parliament. Since the following legislative election was not in the interest of the government, the instrument of presidential dissolution of parliament was not applied.

Dissolving a Landtag

The president can dissolve every Landtag (state legislature) at the request of the government and with the consent of the Federal Council.[7] However, he may only do so once for the same reason – as with the dissolution of the National Council. The Federal Council must agree to the dissolution with a two-thirds majority. The representatives of the state whose Landtag is to be dissolved may not take part at the vote.

The dissolution of a Landtag is regarded as a direct intervention of the federal government in the autonomy of the states. As in the case of the dissolution of the National Council by the president, a dissolved Landtag is considered incapable of action until its newly elected successor meets. This power has never been used by any president yet.

Signing bills into law

As "state notary" and in the course of the constitutional formation of laws, the president signs bills into law.[8] If this is the case, he must sign. Whether and to what extent the president has a substantive examination competence with regard to the constitutional conformity of a law is controversial. The prevailing opinion assumes in case of severe and obvious unconstitutionality of the submitted act that the president has to deny the validation. This has happened only once, when Heinz Fischer refused to sign a law containing a retrospective criminal provision. A refusal to sign, despite of the law being constitutional, could lead to an indictment at the Constitutional Court.

Representing the Republic

The president represents the Austria Republic and concludes international treaties, of which some require the approval of the National Council. When Austria joined the EU, there was a disagreement between president Thomas Klestil and chancellor Franz Vranitzky, who may represent Austria in the European Council. Materially, the legal view of the chancellor has prevailed, the president however, was of the opinion that he had only delegated this right to the chancellor.

Rule by decree

The president is plenipotentiary authorized to rule by emergency decree in times of crisis.[9] The constitution states: "to defend obvious, irreparable damages to the general public, at a time where the National Council is not assembled and cannot be assembled in time, at the request of the Government, and with consent of the standing subcommittee of the principal committee of the National Council, the president is entitled to adopt provisional regulations amending the law". Such emergency decrees do not change constitutional law and other important provisions. As soon as the National Council is able to convene again, active emergency decrees are to be confirmed by the latter in law, and if the National Council declares these invalid, they are to be repealed immediately. The power to pass emergency decrees has never been used yet.

Executing findings of the Constitutional Court

The president is entrusted with the execution of findings of the Constitutional Court in cases that are not subject to ordinary courts.[10] The request for execution is lodged by the Constitutional Court itself. The constitution provides the head of state with extensive enforcement rights. Execution jurisdiction can encompass state and federal authorities as well as a state or the republic in its entirety. Therefore the president can issue direct orders to all federal and state authorities, including the armed forces and the police. If a federal organ or the republic as a whole are affected, the president's directives do not require countersignature.

Chief appointments officer

The president appoints the federal officials, including military officers, judges and other functionaries.[11] These powers can be, and usually are, delegated to the ministers.[12] Supreme organs, however, are appointed by the president himself.

The president also appoints the justices of the Constitutional Court – the Constitutional Court's president, Vice president, six further members and three substitute members on advice of the government; three members and two substitute members on advice of the National Council; three members and one substitute member are nominated by the Federal Council.[13]

Commander-in-chief

Austrian President becomes commander in chief
Newsletter Interessante Blatt reporting about the constitutional amendment

The president is the commander-in-chief of the Austrian Armed Forces (Oberbefehlshaber über das Bundesheer).[14][15] Although the role’s detailed powers remain unclear, it cannot solely be seen as ceremonial and symbolic, but rather as a very powerful reserve right. In Austria's command hierarchy, the president is theoretically supreme and thus outranks every other military authority (inducing the Minister of Defense).[16] A presidential military command is not bound to a proposal or countersignature.[17]

No president has ever made use of this power. Day-to-day military affairs are overseen and managed by the Minister of Defense, who is simply denoted as the ‘commander’ (Befehlshaber) of the armed forces and seen as its de facto highest authority.[18][19] Making key decisions on the use of the armed forces is usually subject to the government.

As commander-in-chief the president succeeds the emperor in his capacity as supreme commander of the Austro-Hungarian Military. After the fall of the monarchy in 1918 the principal committee of the National Council functioned as ultimate organ of the back-then newly established Bundesheer. In 1929, the Christian Social Party transferred supreme command over the armed forces from the principal committee to the president via constitutional amendment, in order to advance authoritarianism in Austria, which subsequently triggered the Federal State.

The president can definitely issue exceptional recruitment measures and possesses an extensive right to be informed.

Other powers and duties

The president also holds many other rights, which are typically part of the duties of a head of state. These include, for example, the creation and awarding of honorary and professional titles,[20] and the de facto meaningless right to declare illegitimate children to legitimate children at the request of the parents. Among the presidential rights, which were formed from simple federal laws, is the "Promotio sub auspiciis Praesidentis rei publicae", in which PhD students with extraordinary credentials receive a ring of honor from the president. In addition, the president has the right to shut down criminal proceedings (right of abolition) or to pardon prisoners. According to the case law of the Constitutional Court, pardon acts of the president do not only undo the punishment itself, but also the associated blame. Accordingly, a disciplinary process may no longer rely on such a conviction: "The repayment of a conviction granted by the grace of the president has the consequence that this conviction may no longer be considered in case of disciplinary proceedings".[21]

Immunity, removal and representation

Immunity

The president is enjoys full immunity from judicial or any type of official prosecution during his incumbency. The president may only be prosecuted with the explicit assent of the Federal Assembly. If an authority intends to prosecute the president, it must address a "request for extradition" before the National Council. If the National Council consents a prosecution, the chancellor shall convene the Federal Assembly, which will then decide over the extradition.[22]

Indictment at the Constitutional Court

The president can be sued at the Constitutional Court for "violating the constitution".[23] This process requires a resolution by either the National Council or the Federal Council; upon such a decision, the chancellor shall convene the Federal Assembly, which will thereupon decide over the indictment. The vote of the Federal Assembly shall take place in the presence of at least half of the members of the National Council and Federal Council; a two-thirds majority is required.[24]

Deposition

The president can only be deposed by the people through a plebiscite.[25] This requires an application of the National Council to convene the Federal Assembly – such a resolution is formed with the same quorums as when changing constitutional law, which means it requires the presence of at least half of the deputies and a two-thirds majority. If the National Council has concluded such a resolution, the chancellor shall convene the Federal Assembly, which then decides over the request. Already from the National Council's request to convene the Federal Assembly on, the president is "prevented from exercising his office" and is represented by the three Presidents of the National Council.[26] If the people reject the president to be deposed, the referendum is treated as new election and causes the immediate dissolution of the National Council; even in such a case, the president's term of office may not exceed twelve years in total.

Representation

The constitution makes no provision for an office of vice president. Should the president fall ill, or for some other reason be temporarily incapacitated, presidential powers and responsibilities devolve upon the chancellor. Should the president die, be impeached, be removed from office as a result of impeachment or recall, or for some other reason to be unable to fulfill the duties of office for a period of more than twenty days, presidential powers and responsibilities devolve upon the Presidium of the National Council (consisting of the three Presidents of the National Council).

Resignation

The Constitution does not state any rules on resignation, which is why it is debatable whether a resignation is de jure possible.[27]

Legal protection

The president is particularly protected by special criminal law provisions. This includes in particular § 249 StGB, "Violence and dangerous threat against the president". The offense belongs to the fifteenth section of the Criminal Code, "Attacks on supreme state organs":

"Anyone who attempts to depose the president by force or by dangerous threats, or to coerce or prevent him from exercising his powers in general or in a certain way, is to be punished with one to ten years imprisonment."

The insult of the president in contrast to most offenses is not a private prosecution, but an authorization offense. Hence, the president does not have to act as a prosecutor in person, but delegate the right to prosecute to the prosecutor's office. An example of this is the so-called "Hump-Dump affair". The title "Bundespräsident" (=president) may – even with additions or in context with other designations – not be used by anyone other than the incumbent president, because of him being protected by law.

List of presidents

Portrait Name Lifespan Took office Left office Political party
First Republic (1918–1938)
Michael Hainisch (cropped) Michael Hainisch 15 August 1858 – 26 February 1940 9 December 1920 10 December 1928 independent
WilhelmMiklas37840v Wilhelm Miklas 15 October 1872 – 20 March 1956 10 December 1928 13 March 1938 CS
Second Republic (since 1945)
Karl Renner 1905 Karl Renner 14 December 1870 – 31 December 1950 20 December 1945 31 December 1950 SPÖ
Theodor Körner Theodor Körner 23 April 1873 – 4 January 1957 21 June 1951 4 January 1957 SPÖ
Adolf Schärf 1961 Adolf Schärf 20 April 1890 – 28 February 1965 22 May 1957 28 February 1965 SPÖ
Franz Jonas 1965 Franz Jonas 4 October 1899 – 24 April 1974 9 June 1965 24 April 1974 SPÖ
Rudolf Kirchschläger Rudolf Kirchschläger 20 March 1915 – 30 March 2000 8 July 1974 8 July 1986 independent
(SPÖ nominated)
Kurt Waldheim 1971b Kurt Waldheim 21 December 1918 – 14 June 2007 8 July 1986 8 July 1992 independent
(ÖVP nominated)
Thomas Klestil Thomas Klestil 4 November 1932 – 6 July 2004 8 July 1992 6 July 2004 ÖVP
independent
Heinz Fischer - Buchmesse Wien 2018 Heinz Fischer born 9 October 1938 8 July 2004 8 July 2016 SPÖ
independent
Alexander Van der Bellen 2016 (cropped) Alexander Van der Bellen born 18 January 1944 26 January 2017 Present independent
(Green supported)

See also

References

  1. ^ "Kundmachung des Anpassungsfaktors" (PDF) (in German). Website des Rechnungshofes. 14 December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Emperor Karl I's Abdication Proclamation, 11 November 1918". firstworldwar.com. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Wahlrechtsänderungsgesetz" (PDF). www.ris.bka.gv.at (in German).
  4. ^ "Art. 67 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  5. ^ "Art. 70 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  6. ^ "Art. 29 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  7. ^ "Art. 100 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-24.
  8. ^ "Art. 47 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  9. ^ "Art. 18 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  10. ^ "Art. 146 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  11. ^ "Art. 65 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  12. ^ "Art. 66 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  13. ^ "Art. 147 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  14. ^ "Der Bundespräsident, seine Aufgaben und Rechte". www.bundespraesident.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  15. ^ "Art. 80 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  16. ^ "Ein Heer von Befehlshabern". www.addendum.org (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  17. ^ "Österreichs oberster Kriegsherr". www.derstandard.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  18. ^ "Tasks of the Austrian Armed Forces". www.bundesheer.at. Retrieved 2018-11-11.
  19. ^ "Wehrgesetz 2001 - WG 2001". www.ris.bka.gv.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  20. ^ "Art. 65 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  21. ^ "Sammlung der Erkenntnisse des Verfassungsgerichthofes". www.alex.onb.ac.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  22. ^ "Art. 63 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  23. ^ "Art. 142 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  24. ^ "Art. 68 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  25. ^ "Art. 60 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  26. ^ "Art. 60 B-VG". www.jusline.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-18.
  27. ^ "Wie wird man eigentlich Bundespräsident?". www.bundespraesident.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-11-20.

External links

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According to the Federal Constitutional Law, the Federal Assembly does not function as a legislative body; the two chambers enact legislation, and even amend the constitution, as strictly separate entities. Since 1945, the assembly has only met to swear the elected President of Austria into office.

First Lady of Austria

The First Lady of Austria is the title attributed to the wife (or, in place of a wife, a designee, such as a daughter) of the President of Austria. The current First Lady is Doris Schmidauer, wife of President Alexander Van der Bellen, who has held the position since 26 January 2017.

Franz, Prince of Thun and Hohenstein

Prince Franz Anton von Thun und Hohenstein, Czech: kníže František Antonín z Thunu a Hohensteina (2 September 1847, Děčín, Bohemia – 1 November 1916, Děčín, Bohemia) was an Austro-Hungarian noble and statesman.

He served as the Habsburg monarchy's Governor of his native Bohemia from 1889 to 1896 and again from 1911 to 1915. He was also briefly the 15th Minister-President of Austria and Minister of the Interior from 1898 to 1899.

Heinz Fischer

Heinz Fischer (German pronunciation: [haɪnts ˈfɪʃɐ] (listen); born 9 October 1938 in Graz, Styria) is a former Austrian politician. He took office as President of Austria on 8 July 2004 and was re-elected for a second and last term on 25 April 2010, leaving office on 8 July 2016. Fischer previously served as minister of science from 1983 to 1987 and as president of the National Council of Austria from 1990 to 2002. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), he suspended his party membership for the duration of his presidency.

Honours system in Austria

The honours system in the Republic of Austria is a means of rewarding individuals' personal achievement, or service to Austria by state decorations and medals.

The system consists of several types of award which were established by the National Council (Austria) and are conferred by the President of Austria in accordance with the respective laws.

Julius Raab

Julius Raab (29 November 1891 – 8 January 1964) was a conservative Austrian politician, who served as Federal Chancellor of Austria from 1953 to 1961. Raab steered Allied-occupied Austria to independence, when he negotiated and signed the Austrian State Treaty in 1955. In internal politics Raab stood for a pragmatic "social partnership" and the "Grand coalition" of Austrian Conservatives and Social Democrats.

Karl Ritter von Stremayr

Karl Ritter von Stremayr (30 October 1832, Graz - 22 June 1904, Pottschach) was an Austrian statesman. He served as the 9th Minister-President of Cisleithania.

Karl von Stürgkh

Karl von Stürgkh (30 October 1859 – 21 October 1916) was an Austrian politician and Minister-President of Cisleithania during the 1914 July Crisis that led to the outbreak of World War I. He was shot and killed by the Social Democratic politician Friedrich Adler.

List of Ministers-President of Austria

The Minister-President of Austria was the head of government of the Austrian Empire from 1848, when the office was created in the course of the March Revolution. Previously, executive power rested with an Austrian State Council, headed by the Emperor himself, from 1821 under the chairmanship of State Chancellor Prince Klemens von Metternich. The offices of Minister-President was not refilled from 1852, when Emperor Franz Joseph resumed control of the government affairs, and was replaced by a coordinating Chairman of the Austrian Minister's Conference.

According to the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, executive powers were divided between the Emperor and King, the Minister of the Imperial and Royal House and of Foreign Affairs as chairman of the k. u. k. Ministers' Council for Common Affairs, and the Ministers-President of the Cisleithanian (Austrian) and Hungarian halves of the Empire. After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in November 1918, the head of government in the Austrian Republic since 1920 has been the Federal Chancellor.

Ludwig Freiherr von Holzgethan

Ludwig Holzgethan, since 1855 von Holzgethan, since 1865 Baron (Freiherr) von Holzgethan (October 1, 1800 in Vienna – June 12, 1876 in Vienna) was an Austrian statesman.

Prince Karl of Auersperg

Karl Wilhelm Philipp, 8th Prince of Auersperg, Duke of Gottschee (German: Karl Wilhelm Philipp Fürst von Auersperg, Herzog von Gottschee; 1 May 1814 in Prague – 4 January 1890 in Prague) was a Bohemian and an Austrian nobleman and statesman. He served as the 1st Minister-President of Cisleithania (13th overall).

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