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The provincial governor , or the Provincial Governor , is chairman of a state government and, before the State Office director , chief magistrate of a country. Today the chairmen of the provincial governments in Austria , South Tyrol and Trentino are referred to as provincial governors or governors ( plural provincial governors , provincial governors or provincial governors ). Your function roughly corresponds to that of a German Prime Minister or a Swiss Government President (also called Landammann in some cantons ).

In imperial Austria (but not in Hungary) governor was from 1861 to 1918 the title of provincial president of a crown country , with the exception of Lower Austria , Bohemia and Galicia , where the title land marshal was used. The governor also chaired the state committee . This was the executive committee of the state parliament and is considered the forerunner of today's state governments. State governors were personally selected and appointed by the emperor from among the members of a state assembly.


In the early modern period , the governor was a representative of the emperor or a sovereign . The powers of the governors varied from country to country. In general, they were involved in financial management tasks. Therefore they were not only accountable to the sovereign but also to the estates. Later, in addition to the provincial governors, stadholders or governors were appointed as imperial officials. The political office of the Landeshauptmannschaft existed in the entire Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation , for example in Bohemia and Moravia , in Silesia , in the County of Glatz and in Upper and Lower Lusatia , in Prussia , etc.


See also:

Habsburg Monarchy

In the non-Hungarian countries of the monarchy, called Cisleithanien (western half of the empire) in Austria-Hungary from 1867 , the emperor established a double structure based on historical development with the so-called February patent , the imperial constitution of 1861: with the governor as head of autonomous national policy and the kk provincial chief (in most of the crown lands governor , in some called provincial president) as representative of the emperor as sovereign and the central government of Vienna.

Republic of Austria

This double structure was eliminated with the establishment of the First Republic in 1918: With the law of November 14, 1918 regarding the assumption of state power in the states , governors and previous state parliaments were abolished on November 20, and provisional state assemblies and state governments with a state governor as chairman were set up. The state governments were bound by the instructions of the German-Austrian State Council .

Since the resolution of the Federal Constitution of 1920, the governor has combined in his function the offices of the representative of the federal government in the state (he is de jure monocratically responsible for indirect federal administration) and the chairman of the state government collegiate body in accordance with the respective state constitution. The office is roughly comparable to that of a Prime Minister of a federal state or the governing mayor of a city-state in Germany, although they do not perform any tasks in the area of ​​federal administration in the German constitution.

The federal constitutional law grants the governor a special position. Accordingly, he is the most important representative of the state ( federal ) at state level. The governor is elected by the state parliament (exception: Vienna, see below ) and sworn in by the federal president . In his capacity as the bearer of indirect federal administration, he is responsible to the federal government . In exercising indirect federal administration, however, it is usually represented by the member of the state government ( state council ) entrusted with the respective department . In Vienna , the mayor is also the governor and is elected by the municipal council.

The duties of the governor include:

  • Representation of the state externally, towards the federal government, towards the other states and towards private individuals
  • Chairman of the state government, convening and chairing the meetings of the state government
  • Inauguration of the members of the state government (state councils)
  • Announcement of the legislative resolutions in the State Law Gazette if there is no objection from the federal government
  • Exercise of federal administration at state level as an organ bound by instructions to the respective federal minister (indirect federal administration). a. Commercial , water and forest law .
  • In the event of a crisis, coordinator of all authorities in the country, including the security and military authorities
  • Representation of the country in international matters (e.g. Committee of the Regions within the framework of the EU or Arge Alp )

The provincial governors' conference , in which each provincial governor represents his federal state, is not legally anchored in Austria, but has real political influence . The mayor of Vienna occupies a special position . Vienna has 1.8 million inhabitants, a good 2½ million people live in the greater Vienna area, a third of all Austrians. Therefore, in his role as governor, the mayor of Vienna also has a special influence on federal politics .

Furthermore, the governor represents his state together with the president of the state parliament in the integration conference of the states .

His deputy is the Deputy Governor or Deputy Governor. In Vorarlberg this is known as the state governor .

Governor or Governor?

Whether female governors as provincial governor , Landeshauptmännin or Landeshauptfrau must be described, is not clearly defined. This question arose for the first time when Waltraud Klasnic ( ÖVP ) took office in Styria on January 23, 1996, who was addressed as Mrs. Klasnic or Mrs. Landeshauptmann . Gabi Burgstaller ( SPÖ ), who held office in Salzburg from 2004 to 2013 , preferred the title of governor .

Since April 19, 2017, there is again an incumbent governor in Lower Austria , Johanna Mikl-Leitner .

Since July 1, 1988, the Austrian constitution has provided that official designations can be used in a gender-specific form ( Art. 7  Paragraph 3 B-VG ).

In accordance with old Austrian customs, the incumbent's wife is sometimes addressed as Ms. Governor ; Such title-related form of address for wives of office holders or academics also occurred in the rest of the German-speaking area until well over the middle of the 20th century. The reverse form - Herr Landeshauptfrau - was never meant seriously. Deputies of the Salzburg Governor preferred the title Deputy Governor .

Relationship to one another

Styria and, most recently, Salzburg have in common that both father and son have ruled or rule as governors in both federal states. In both cases they were ÖVP members, in both cases father and son had the same first name. Josef Krainer senior was regional head of Styria from 1948 to 1971; his son Josef Krainer junior from 1981 to 1996. Wilfried Haslauer senior ruled Salzburg from 1977 to 1989; his son Wilfried Haslauer junior has been head of the Salzburg government since 2013.


In Prussia, the governor (formerly provincial director ) was the highest official of a provincial association elected by the provincial parliament since 1875 . He headed the provincial self-government, while the chief president appointed by the king exercised the prerogative of the central government. The provincial council (Landessyndikus) and technical officials (construction) stood by the governor (provincial director).

The governors worked on a voluntary basis until the end of the Kingdom of Prussia . According to the Prussian provincial order of 1875, the magistrates of the cities and the district assemblies elected the members of the provincial assembly for six, at most twelve years. As self-governing bodies, the state parliaments had their own finances and tasks (state showrooms, social welfare, housing and settlement, promotion of science and art). The local councils and the state legislature were to equal suffrage elected only since 1919. For the Provinzialverband Pomerania were full-time provincial governors elected for five years.

In several of the Länder of the Federal Republic of Germany that emerged from Prussia, the “third communal level” ( higher communal association ) exists for example. T. under other names until today, so in Hesse (state welfare association ), Lower Saxony ( East Frisian landscape ), North Rhine-Westphalia ( regional association Rhineland and regional association Westphalia-Lippe ) and (until 2000) in Rhineland-Palatinate, z. T. now also have the provincial government / regional councils held this function.

German New Guinea

During the administration of the later colony of German New Guinea by the New Guinea Company from 1885 to 1899, a governor exercised sovereign rights in the so-called " protected area ".

On May 16, 1885, the German Empire issued the New Guinea Company with an “Imperial Protection Letter”, which gave it sovereignty over the “German New Guinea Protected Area”. The New Guinea Company administered the German colony with brief interruptions until 1899.

Georg von Schleinitz , a high naval officer, was appointed the first governor . After Schleinitz, the state administration of the New Guinea company was almost exclusively carried out by provisional governors. On November 1, 1889, the company temporarily handed management over to Reich officials. On September 1, 1892, Georg Schmiele, an ordinary governor, was appointed at short notice .

In the long run, however, the New Guinea company was not up to the tasks in the colony. Economically and politically unsuccessful, the New Guinea Company finally ceded the sovereign rights and thus the administration of the colony to the German Reich on April 1, 1899, with the letter of protection being deleted.

South Tyrol and Trentino

In South Tyrol and Trentino, the term Landeshauptmann is used in German for the provincial government (Presidente della Giunta provinciale) called the chairman of the provincial government ; the modern use of the term follows on from the long historical tradition of the Tyrolean governorate .

The governor of South Tyrol represents the state externally and participates in the state-regional and autonomous provincial conferences in Rome . In addition, he can take part in the meetings of the Italian government (Council of Ministers) as far as questions relating to the Province of South Tyrol are concerned. He is assigned two deputies, one of whom must belong to the German and one to the Italian language group. The governor is elected by the state parliament. The electoral legislation is the responsibility of the country. See also the South Tyrolean provincial government .

The terms governor and province of South Tyrol were introduced based on Austria; From an Italian perspective, South Tyrol and Trentino are the provinces of Bolzano and Trento, which have extensive autonomy rights. The term “governor” is not used for the other provinces in Italy; mostly in German texts the official title is translated as "President of the Province". Likewise, the German term “Land” is used only for the two autonomous provinces of South Tyrol and Trentino, which have special rights, and not for the other provinces.


The use of the term in the Old Confederation is not uniform. The official designation (often also as governor ) was mainly used in the provincial towns , whereby the military aspect of the office usually predominated. It is not the same as the Landammann's .

In the Republic of Valais (now the Canton of Valais ) the head of state was called the governor from 1288 to 1798 , and the name Zendenbannerherr was also in use, at least at times . Well-known governors came primarily from the In-Albon families and from the Schiner family . In 1388, the first governor, Simon Murmann from Wyler, was elected by the seven tens of Valais as well as by the bishop and the cathedral chapter of Sion at the state parliament. The governor also acted primarily as a secular representative of the bishop. The term of office was initially one year, was extended to two years in the 15th century, and varied from the 16th century. Initially, family members served as representatives for the governor , and from the middle of the 16th century the vice governor . The jurisdiction of the governor included from 1631 the convocation of the district administrator , the diplomatic representation, until 1571 the chairmanship of the court on the great bridge of Sion . The office of governor was abolished in 1798 by the ancien regime, at that time governor was Jost Sigristen .

The President of the Grand Council of the Canton of Valais has held the title of Governor since the middle of the 20th century .

In the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden , the title of Governor is still carried by the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry (Head of the Agriculture and Forestry Department of the Professional Council ).


In Finland , the president appoints a governor who is in charge of governing a province. In the semi-autonomous province of Åland , a state parliament is elected by the people, which appoints the landscape council as the executive body , the chairman of which is similar to the Finnish governor.


The Swedish administrative districts ( Län ) are headed by a so-called Landshövding , which in principle can also be translated as governor. A Landshövding is appointed by the state government in Stockholm and has a kind of mediator and coordination function - it represents the interests of the entire state at the district level, or vice versa, the interests of the district vis-à-vis the government.

Czech Republic

The term "Hauptmann" (Hejtman) is also used in the Czech Republic as a term for the council chairpersons of the respective regional councils. Another term is Kreishauptmann . The captain elected by the regional parliament chairs the meetings of the regional council and represents the region externally.

See also


As governor in the Republic of Austria

Web links

Wiktionary: Hauptmann  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. StGBl. No. 24/1918 (= p. 29)
  2. Circular from the Federal Chancellery of August 17, 2012 on the current legal situation ( memento of the original of September 23, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Hermann Möcker: Governor - Provincial Governor - Landes concubine - Landeshauptmännin. A "problem" with gender-specific language . In: Friedbert Aspetsberger, Konstanze Fliedl (Ed.): Gender. Essays on contemporary literature . (= Literature series of the Institute for Austrian Studies, Vol. 12). StudienVerlag, Innsbruck 2001, p. 89 .
  4. Women [and / as men] constructions . Conference report 40th literary conference, Bildungshaus St. Hippolyt, St. Pölten, 7th to 10th December 2000. In: Institute for Austrian Studies (Ed.): Austria in History and Literature . 45th year Vienna 2001, p. 79-88 (also published in: Aspetsberger, Fliedl (Ed.): Geschlechts. Innsbruck 2001.).
  5. After 1918 the name was mostly governor, but the Brandenburg Provincial Association kept the old title. Cf. article: “Landesdirektor”, in: Der Große Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens in twenty volumes : 21 vols .; Leipzig: Brockhaus, 15 1928–1935; Vol. 11 (1932), p. 71
  6. To the governors in Unterwalden in the 18th century see for example: Niklaus von Flüe : Obwalden in the 18th century. Verlag des Historisches Verein Obwalden, Sarnen 2009 (= Obwaldner Geschichtsblätter , Issue 26), pp. 117–120
  7. ^ Corruption: Eight years imprisonment for Czech ex-governor. In: July 23, 2015, accessed December 3, 2017 .