Austrian Parliament

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Austrian Parliament
Parliament logo
Parliament logo
position Federal legislative bodies :
State authority legislative branch
founding 1861 (as Reichsrat , 1918 Prov.National Assembly , 1919 Constituent NV , 1920 Federal Constitutional Law )
Seat Hofburg, Vienna (provisional)
Guarantee of existence Art. 1 (democratic principle) and Chapter 2 (federal legislation, Art. 24–59b ) B-VG

In Austria , legislation at the federal level is incumbent on two independent legislative bodies, the National Council (183 members) and the Federal Council (61 members), which are collectively referred to as parliament . In rare cases, the National Council and the Federal Council meet together as a federal assembly .

Even if the federal legislative bodies are not constitutionally referred to as “the parliament”, this term is widespread and is also used by the two chambers in public relations. Without further specification, in general Austrian parlance mostly only the National Council is meant.

The parliament building has been extensively renovated since July 13, 2017. Therefore, since September 20, 2017, the National Council and Federal Council have been meeting in an alternate quarter, which is located in the Vienna Hofburg.


The legislative period of the National Council is five years (up to the 2008 electoral reform it was four years). The National Council is determined by general elections , i. H. Citizens exercise their right to vote through their general, equal, free, direct, personal and secret proportional representation. It is the dominant chamber in Austrian legislation , with practically almost all legislative power. The National Council has the option of dissolving itself by resolution. Furthermore, it can be dissolved by the Federal President on the proposal of the Federal Government .

The Federal Council is appointed by the individual state parliaments (the parliaments of the federal states ) according to the strength of the parliamentary groups in them. In most cases, the Federal Council only has a suspensive (suspensive) right of veto , which can be overridden by a persistent resolution by the National Council.

The National Council and the Federal Council meet as a federal assembly on certain occasions . Their most important constitutional competences consist in swearing in the Federal President and in the possibility of indicting the Federal President before the Constitutional Court or of having a referendum to impeach him. The Federal Assembly would also have to decide on any declarations of war by Austria. In contrast to Switzerland , however, the National Council and the Federal Council are not set up as two chambers of a superordinate constitutional body, the Federal Assembly, but together form these as a third body if necessary.

The Parliamentary Directorate , which is headed by the President of the National Council ( Art. 30 B-VG ) , conducts the administrative business of the National Council and the Federal Council . The organization of the organizational units responsible for the Federal Council is determined by the President of the National Council in agreement with the Chairman of the Federal Council. These organizational units are technically subordinate to the Chairman of the Federal Council.


The participation of elected representatives in the legislative process began in Austria in 1861 with the Imperial Council , which in 1867 became the Parliament of Cisleithania , the kingdoms and countries of Austria-Hungary represented in the Imperial Council ; 17 crown lands were represented . Only men and only the House of Representatives were elected ; the formal first chamber with equal rights, the manor house , consisted of members by law and persons appointed by the emperor, mostly aristocrats.

The right to vote for men in the House of Representatives was democratized in several steps after 1867 and existed from 1907 for all adults, i.e. H. 24 year old men; At the same time, the number of seats in the House of Representatives, 203 in 1867, was increased to the last 516 (see Reichsrat election 1907 ). Women were not eligible to vote until the end of the monarchy in 1918.

Since 1883 members of the Reichsrats and Herrenhaus members met in today's parliament building in Vienna , then called the Imperial and Royal Reichsratsgebäude. The last session of the House of Representatives took place on November 12, 1918; on the same day the manor house was declared dissolved by the provisional national assembly of the new state of German Austria (which met for the first time on October 21, 1918) , which on the same day defined itself as a republic. The plenary session of the National Assembly met for the first time in the parliament building on that day.

In December 1918, the National Assembly passed universal suffrage for women as well; Anyone who was over twenty , i.e. at least 20 years old, was now eligible to vote (this provision was adopted in Art. 26 B-VG in 1920). Women and men then elected the Constituent National Assembly in February 1919 . In 1920 it passed the Federal Constitutional Law , the constitution of the Republic of Austria, on which the Austrian Parliament has been based ever since.

The citizens of Burgenland were not involved in any of these processes , as German West Hungary de facto belonged to Hungary until 1921 . The first National Council election , in which Burgenland women and men also participated, took place in 1923.

Ten years later, the Federal Government of Dollfuss used a loophole in the rules of procedure that had become apparent in the National Council meeting of March 4, 1933 to speak of the parliament's self- elimination and to prevent further meetings of the National Council. Parliamentary activity was interrupted until 1938 by the dictatorship of the “corporate state” and from 1938 to 1945 by the National Socialist regime .

Parliament building

Parliament met in by Theophil Hansen built parliament building on the ring road . Furthermore, two buildings in the Reichsratsstrasse running behind the building and the neighboring Palais Epstein , also on Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring , were used by Parliament. Parliament administration is subordinate to the President of the National Council .

The representative columned hall in the middle of the parliament building was used for publicly accessible exhibitions etc. A new entrance and a visitor center were built under the hall and the parliamentary ramp.

In December 2014, the six parliamentary parties agreed on the relocation of the National Council during the renovation work of the parliament building planned for 2017 to 2020 in the redouten halls of the Vienna Hofburg . The parliament building has been undergoing a general renovation since July 13, 2017. The National Council and Federal Council have been meeting in the alternative quarters in the Vienna Hofburg since autumn 2017. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and additional projects, such as two tap- proof locations for investigative committees under the historic meeting room, there were delays and higher costs. The move back to the parliament building should take place in the course of 2022.

Internet presence

As part of the eGovernment initiative of the 1990s, the Austrian Parliament designed an extensive website that has been online since 1998.

In addition to general information on daily events and political background and information also in sign language, there is an extensive database of personal details (who is who) and all of the parliamentary materials , i.e. stenographic minutes of the meetings, the files on the legislation, inquiries and answers and more (Active Parliament, PAKT) .

The easy language (LESP) is also offered on the website .

As one of the first parliaments in the European Union, the Austrian Parliament has put its own page on the parliamentary dimension of the EU Council Presidency online.


  • Walter Donatus Megner: Theophil Hansen's reception of ancient architecture using the example of the Vienna Parliament building. Vienna 2007, not in bookshops. Signature Parliament Library Vienna: 68.597
  • Gertrude Aubauer: High house, antics, mishaps, punch lines . Verlag Ueberreuter, 2001, ISBN 3-8000-3804-8
  • Christoph Konrath: What does Parliament actually do?
  • Wilhelm F. Czerny, Konrad Atzwanger: The Austrian Parliament - for the 100th anniversary of the parliament building . Verlag der Österreichische Staatsdruckerei, Vienna 1984, ISBN 3-7046-0027-X
  • Gustav Kolmer: Parliament and Constitution in Austria . Volume 1–8, Vienna 1902–1914

Web links

Commons : Austrian Parliament  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Last meeting in the old plenary hall - Retrieved July 15, 2017 .
  2. RIS - Federal Constitutional Law Art. 26 - Federal law consolidated. Retrieved October 6, 2018 .
  3. RIS - Federal Constitutional Law Art. 29 - Federal law consolidated. Retrieved October 6, 2018 .
  4. ^ RIS - Federal Constitutional Law Art. 67 - Federal law consolidated. Retrieved October 6, 2018 .
  5. § 11 Electoral Regulations, StGBl. No. 115/1918 (= p. 167)
  6. - Parliamentary restructuring: National Council will meet in the Hofburg from 2017 . Article dated December 4, 2014, accessed December 4, 2014.
  7. Renovation of the parliament building - information on the renovation project . Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  8. Costs for parliament renovation are increasing. In: . July 18, 2020, accessed July 19, 2020 .
  9. Andreas Weigel : If that's on the Internet! What are you actually doing, the honorable Members? The parliament homepage provides information: biographies, photos, overviews of the activities of local parliamentarians and much more. In: " Die Presse ", "Spectrum". August 22, 1998. S.VIII.
  10. Parliament declares
  11. Who is who
  12. Parliament active
  13. Easy language. Austrian Parliament, accessed on October 15, 2017 .
  14. ^ Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2018. Accessed on January 17, 2020 .