Club (politics)

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In Austrian politics, a club (short for parliamentary club ) is a group of members of parliament at various political levels, from the municipality to the Austrian National Council . The chairperson of a club is called a “club chairman” or “club chairwoman”, as is a club director in the sense of a managing director .

The term “ parliamentary group ” is synonymous with the “club” in the Austrian National Council in use both in the Austrian Federal Council and in German and Swiss politics; the equivalent of the “club chairman ” there is the “ parliamentary group chairman ” or, in Switzerland, the parliamentary group president.

The free mandate of the members of the National Council and the Federal Council is anchored in federal constitutional law by Article 56, Paragraph 1 of the Federal Constitutional Act (B-VG) . According to this, the members of the National Council and the members of the Federal Council are not bound by any mandate when exercising this profession. The MP is therefore only subject to his conscience when making decisions and is free from being bound by the will of the party or another group, for example his constituency , when making decisions - in contrast to an imperative mandate . The so-called club compulsion (see: parliamentary group compulsion ), which is often discussed in connection with the legislative bodies mentioned , does not exist. In reality, however, the free mandate is restricted by club discipline. This means that the minority that has lost in internal club votes bows to the club’s internal majority when voting in parliament and votes in the same way as it.

In the Polish Sejm , too , the factions are called clubs.

National Council


MEPs can form clubs to make the work easier. Clubs play an important role in Austrian parliamentarianism : they are allowed to submit initiative motions, clubs have the right to be represented in the presidential conference of the National Council, and they can put an urgent request to a member of the government. Parliamentary clubs have funds from taxpayers' money. In addition, parties with an associated parliamentary club also receive funding for political education .

According to Section 7 of the Federal Act on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council (Rules of Procedure 1975), MPs from the same campaigning party have the right to join a club. As a rule, therefore, MPs who stand for election on an electoral list form a parliamentary club. The National Council can allow members of parliament from different parties to form a club. For a club to be recognized, it must have at least five MPs.

In political practice, the MPs from one party come together in a single club. Individual MPs who resign during the electoral period usually act as wild MPs and have far fewer rights than those who are organized in clubs.

Since the amendment to § 7 of the Rules of Procedure Act by resolution of the National Council of July 6, 2013, published on July 19, 2013, the formation of a club is only permitted within one month of the constitution of the National Council. Members of the same campaigning party have the right to form a single club.If they announce the formation of more than one club, the larger group is to be recognized, in the case of groups of the same size, the one to which the first person on the list of the respective federal nomination belongs . Members not of the same campaigning party require the consent of the National Council in order to form a club, which can also only take place within one month of the first meeting of the National Council.

Interpretation of this definition

With the establishment of the Liberal Forum (LIF) in February 1993, the tradition of a club for one party was broken: five MPs declared their exit from the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) and the establishment of their own parliamentary club. Discussions then flared up on how to interpret “joining together in a club” : If one is a numeral, only one club per party is allowed. On the other hand, if one has an article, this allows the formation of several clubs per party. The Presidium of the National Council finally decided to interpret the relevant passage in such a way that it would allow the establishment of the new club. The Constitutional Court found that an identical passage in the Vienna City Constitution allows several clubs per party.

When the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) was founded in April 2005, however, the legality of an almost complete transition from a club to a new party was hardly a controversial issue.

Since the above-mentioned change in the rules of procedure in July 2013, it is no longer possible to form a club more than one month after the first meeting of the National Council.

Federal Council

The parliamentary groups of the Federal Council , however, are designated as such. They are led by group leaders.

According to Section 14 (1) of the Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council (GOBR), Federal Councilors elected by the state parliaments on the basis of proposals from the same party have the right to form a parliamentary group. In order to be recognized as a parliamentary group, at least five federal councilors are required. Pursuant to Section 14 (2) GOBR, federal councilors who do not meet the requirements of Section 14 (1) GOBR can only form a parliamentary group with the consent of the Bundesrat.


In the state parliaments of the individual federal states , parliamentary groups above a certain size - usually from at least three members - can join together to form a "state parliament club" and then receive further-reaching financial and organizational support from the state parliament, such as club premises or club employees.

Municipal council

In the local councils , the local council groups are called “local council clubs” and are also led by club officials.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Parliamentary Correspondence No. 580 of June 20, 2013