Constituent National Assembly

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1911Election to the
Constituent National Assembly in 1919
compared to the 1911 election (only German candidates)
( n. K. )
( n. K. )

Template: election chart / maintenance / notes
c 1911: mostly members of the German National Association
A total of 170 seats
  • SDAP : 72
  • VTP : 1
  • JNP : 1
  • D : 1
  • CS : 69
  • DN : 26
Karl Seitz , a Social Democrat from Vienna, who was elected in 1911, was elected by the Provisional National Assembly on October 21, 1918 as one of its three presidents with equal rights. On March 5, 1919, the Constituent National Assembly elected him President (until November 10, 1920), who also served as head of state (until December 9, 1920).
Wiener Illustrierte Zeitung , March 16, 1919
Photo: Court photographer Carl Pietzner , Vienna
The Social Democrat Karl Renner (picture from 1905) from South Moravia was elected State Chancellor of German Austria by the Provisional National Assembly on October 30, 1918; Confirmed in office by the Constituent National Assembly, he remained so until July 7, 1920, when, by agreement, he was succeeded by the Christian Socialist Michael Mayr . The grand coalition lasted until October 22, 1920

The Constituent National Assembly for German Austria , elected on February 16, 1919, was the first parliament in the history of Austria to be elected by women and men in free and equal elections . On March 4, 1919, it replaced the Provisional National Assembly based on the 1911 Reichsrat elections , passed the Habsburg law , ratified the Treaty of Saint-Germain , which sealed the collapse of Old Austria and demanded Austria's independence from Germany, and passed a resolution in its last session on March 1 , 1919 . October 1920 the Federal Constitution, which is still in force today .

With effect from March 15, 1919, the National Assembly abolished the State Council , which consisted of the three presidents of the National Assembly and 20 other members of the parliament. The previous rotation of the three chairmen of the National Assembly in their functions was no longer necessary; the President of the National Assembly, Karl Seitz , was head of state until the election of the first Federal President on December 9, 1920.

Due to the new constitution, the National Assembly was replaced by the National Council and the Federal Council on November 10, 1920 . The State Government became the Federal Government and the State Law Gazette became the Federal Law Gazette for the Republic of Austria . The designation State Chancellor was replaced by Federal Chancellor , the designation State Secretary by Federal Minister.


On October 21, 1918 , all German members of the Reichsrat met in the Lower Austrian Landhaus in the Herrengasse in Vienna for the provisional national assembly of German Austria . They claimed the entire German settlement area of ​​Old Austria for the new state. On October 30, 1918, the Social Democrat Karl Renner was elected as the first State Chancellor of German Austria . The reigning Habsburg Emperor Charles I renounced his share of state affairs on November 11, 1918 , and the next day the Provisional National Assembly adopted the republic as a form of government.


Territory of German Austria claimed by the National Assembly in 1918/1919 and the actual demarcation of the Republic of Austria from December 1921

The newly founded Czechoslovakia ignored the right of self-determination of the later Sudeten Germans and prevented their participation in the election for the constituent national assembly. Likewise, the Italians who had occupied South Tyrol did not allow voter participation there. Therefore it was only possible to choose in the areas that were actually controlled by German Austria (e.g. today's federal area minus Burgenland ). At that time, Burgenland still belonged to Hungary and therefore did not take part in the elections and activities of the Constituent National Assembly, as well as in the first National Council elections in 1920.

For the first time in the electoral area women were able to exercise their general and equal right to vote after long political struggles. 3,544,242 women and men were eligible to vote. The turnout was 84.4%. A total of more than 20 lists were available. However, many only ran for candidates at the regional level and not in the entire national territory.

Election result

Candidates be right proportion of Mandates
1919 from that 1919 from that
Social Democratic Labor Party (SDAP) 1,211,814 40.75% % 72 -
Christian Social Parties 1,068,382 35.93% % 69 -
     of it ... Christian socials (687,603) 23.12% 47
               ... Lower Austrian farmers' union (222,701) 7.49% 12
               ... Christian Social Citizens 'and Workers' Party (61,603) 2.07% 0
               ... Tyrolean farmers' association (50,461) 1.70% 3
               ... Tyrolean Volksverein (46,014) 1.55% 7th
German national parties 551.041 18.53% - 26th -
     of which ... German National Party (173,881) 5.85% 8th
               ... German Democrats (64,078) 2.16% 3
               ... German People's Party (59,918) 2.02% 2
               ... German Freedom and Order Party (56,365) 1.90% 5
               ... Styrian farmers' party (47,078) 1.58% 3
               ... National Democratic Party (46,577) 1.57% 0
               … Carinthian farmers' union (33,412) 1.12% 2
               ... National Socialist Workers' Party (23,334) 0.78% 0
               ... German National Election Committee (15,679) 0.53% 1
               ... Democratic Association of Estates (12,336) 0.41% 1
               ... Freedom Salzburg farmers' union (8,507) 0.29% 1
               ... Democratic middle class party (5,967) 0.20% 0
               ... Democratic Economic Party (3,909) 0.13% 0
United Czechoslovak parties 67,514 2.27% - 1 -
Democratic parties 64,391 2.16% - 1 -
     it ... Civic Democrats & D Ö economy Party of Festbesoldeten (48,847) 1.64% 1
               ... Democratic Party (15,133) 0.51% 0
               ... Economic People's Party (411) 0.01% 0
Jewish National Party 7,760 0.26% - 1 -
German-Austrian People's Party 1,688 0.06% - 0 -
Treiplparty 864 0.03% - 0 -

Christian Socials and Social Democrats were able to collect more than 75 percent of the votes in the election prepared by the Provisional National Assembly. The party with the largest number of votes and mandates was the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) under Karl Seitz , Karl Renner and Otto Bauer . The second largest party was the Christian Social Party . 159 MPs, including eight women (seven Social Democrats and one Christian Socialist), were elected and most of them sworn in at the opening session on March 4, 1919.

Subsequent convocations

In view of the fact that the elections in Central and Lower Styria could only be made in a smaller part of the constituency and in the constituency Deutsch-Südtirol only about a tenth of those eligible to vote, namely in the Lienz district , the National Assembly decided on April 4 In 1919, eleven further male candidates on the electoral lists of the parties were to be convened in the National Assembly for these areas, proportionally according to the regional election results . They were sworn in on April 24, 1919.

For six constituencies in German Bohemia , two in the Sudetenland and three in the enclosures , there were no indications of how the election there would have turned out if it had been allowed to take place. The Social Democrats therefore refused to convene MPs for these eleven constituencies, which is why it did not take place.


A total of 19 lists made it into parliament. The National Assembly, which included 170 members, was divided into political camps as follows:

  • Social Democrats 72
  • Christian Social 69
  • German national parties 26
  • Democratic parties 1
  • Jewish National 1
  • Czech Social Democrats 1

The election result led to a grand coalition between Social Democrats and Christian Socials by July 7, 1920 , then to a transitional proportional government of all three political camps, from which the Social Democrats on October 22, 1920, five days after the first National Council election, in which the Christian Socials as party with the strongest vote emerged.


As the Constituent National Assembly (KNV) on March 4, 1919 Parliament building in Vienna, the former kk Reichsratsgebäude her from interim president Anton David held guided 40-minute opening session, found in many places around the Sudetenländer demonstrations of German Bohemia and Deutschmährer against their exclusion from the Election instead. On March 5, 1919, the KNV elected the social democrat Karl Seitz as president and the Christian socialist Johann Nepomuk Hauser as second president. Since the Greater German Franz Dinghofer was absent due to illness, he was elected Third President on March 12, 1919. Due to this function, Seitz also served as head of state until December 9, 1920, when he was replaced as such by the first Federal President .

The KNV adopted important guidelines for the republican development of Austria. Many of their resolutions are still valid today. At the same time, however, it had to deal with the extremely difficult economic situation of the now small state, which many only considered viable as part of Germany, and the great inflation .

Choice of state government

The Renner I state government, appointed by its executive committee called the State Council in agreement with the Provisional National Assembly, resigned on March 3, 1919 and was entrusted by the State Council with the continuation of business. The KNV passed the law on state government on March 14, 1919 . The State Chancellor and the State Secretaries were initially referred to as People's Representatives , probably to emphasize the contrast to the former Imperial and Royal Ministers . The government is elected en bloc by the KNV on the proposal of its main committee. (If the parliament is not in session, the government is provisionally appointed by the main committee, which is in office continuously.) If the parliament fails to trust the government or individual members of the government by express resolution , the dismissal or new appointment would have to take place. The business of the previous State Council or the State Council Directorate was transferred to the state government; The president of the National Assembly (as head of state) now has to appoint officials.

The law came into effect on March 15, 1919. On that day, the KNV elected the new Renner II state government with 99 votes in favor, no against . After their resignation, the National Assembly elected the Renner III state government on October 17, 1919 . On July 7, 1920, the KNV elected the Mayr I state government , a transitional proportional representation government. When the Social Democrats resigned from this government on October 22, 1920, Karl Seitz, as President of the (no longer meeting) KNV in his capacity as Head of State, appointed Christian Social Government members to temporarily lead the state offices concerned.


Karl Renner remained State Chancellor and formed the first democratically legitimized government in what was then German Austria . After the former Emperor Karl I had revoked his declaration of renunciation of November 1918 in the Feldkirch Manifesto when he left Austria , the National Assembly passed the Habsburg Law on April 3, 1919 . This law regulated the takeover of the property of the former ruling House of Habsburg-Lothringen and its branches (so-called family funds ) by the state of German Austria and the abolition of all privileges of the former ruling house. The former holder of the crown , as it was called in the law, was expelled from the country for good. Other members of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen were allowed to stay in German Austria if they renounced their claims to power and declared themselves citizens of the republic. The demonstrably free personal private assets of individual family members remained unaffected by the Habsburg law.

state contract

On September 10, 1919, State Chancellor Renner signed the State Treaty of Saint-Germain , which was seen as a dictated peace due to its disregard for the right of self-determination of the later Sudeten Germans and the South Tyroleans , but to which there was no alternative in view of the complete powerlessness of the new Austria. On October 21, 1919, the treaty was ratified by the National Assembly. From that day on, the new state was called the Republic of Austria in accordance with the treaty (the term German-Austria had not been accepted by the victorious powers). The envisaged connection to Germany was also excluded for the future by treaty provisions (in addition, Germany had to accept Austria's independence in the Versailles Peace Treaty ). The peace treaty also stipulated that German West Hungary (later called Burgenland ) was to be attached to Austria (an analogous provision can be found in the Trianon Treaty concluded by the victorious powers with Hungary in 1920 ). Most of the planned area came to Austria in November / December 1921.

Shortening the legislative period

In the summer of 1920, the grand coalition of the Social Democrats and the Christian Socials could no longer be continued because of strong conflicting interests. However, an agreement was reached on the law of July 6, 1920 on the shortening of the legislative period of the Constituent National Assembly (it ended on October 31, 1920). If there was no agreement on a cabinet list, it provided for proportional voting rights. The law was applied the next day in the election of the Mayr I state government . It also stipulated that the President, the two Vice-Presidents and the Main Committee of the National Assembly would remain in office until the new parliament, which was to be elected by law on October 17, 1920, had elected their successors. (This election took place on November 10, 1920.)


The constituent national assembly was called to discuss and adopt the republican constitution (constitution) of Austria. For this, compromises had to be found between the centralist Social Democrats and the federalist Christian Socialists; they resulted in federal regulations which give the state as a whole ( federal ) a much stronger position than the member states ( federal states ). Vienna was from Lower Austria removed and declared the independent state. The so-called Federal Constitutional Law (B-VG, law by which the Republic of Austria is established as a federal state ) was passed by the National Assembly on October 1, 1920, came into force on November 10, 1920 and is essentially still in force today. (Apart from joining the EU, the most important later change is the popular election of the Federal President introduced by an amendment in 1929. )

Historical classification

The two years of the Provisional and Constituent National Assemblies, 1918–1920, were the only ones in the First Republic when the two major political camps, often referred to simply as the Reds and the Blacks , were able to work together at the state level. From 1920 to 1938 they faced each other with increasing uncompromisingness, culminating in February 1934 and the dictatorship that followed. It was not until 1945, after the disaster of World War II, that a grand coalition succeeded again , which lasted until 1966.

See also


  • Stenographic minutes of the meetings of the Constituent National Assembly of the Republic of Austria . 1919. Volume 1 (1st to 46th session) (later printed title page with changed name of the state), beginning with the 1st (opening) session of the Constituent National Assembly for German Austria (shorthand protocol) ALEX , which is called “1. (Opening) session (March 4th) ”is quoted.

Individual evidence

  2. 1st (opening) session
  3. ^ Session 9 (April 4), p. 238 ALEX
  4. Report of the commission on the representation of the occupied territories : 141 of the enclosures. Constituent National Assembly , can be found on the website of the Austrian National Library under Stenographic Protocols, First Republic, Session 2, 130.-179. Supplement, p. 53 f.
  5. 10th Session (April 24), p. 245 ALEX
  6. 1st (opening) session (March 4th), p. 3 ff. ALEX
  7. 2nd meeting (March 5), p. 19 ALEX
  8. 3rd meeting (March 12), p. 40 ALEX
  9. StGBl. No. 180/1919 (= p. 407)
  10. StGBl. No. 283/1920 (= p. 954)

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