National Council (Austria)

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National Council (Austria)
logo Parliament building in Vienna
logo Parliament building in Vienna
Basic data
Seat: Parliament Building , Vienna ; currently due to renovation: Hofburg , Vienna
Legislative period : 5 years
First session: November 10, 1920
MPs: 183
Current legislative period
Last choice: 29th September 2019
Chair: National Council President
Wolfgang Sobotka ( ÖVP )
II. Doris Bures (SPÖ)
III. Norbert Hofer (FPÖ)
Club membership as of October 23, 2019
      
Distribution of seats: Government (97)
  • ÖVP 71
  • GREEN 26
  • Opposition (86)
  • SPÖ 40
  • FPÖ 30
  • NEOS 15
  • non-attached 1
  • Website
    www.parlament.gv.at

    The Nationalrat is the Chamber of Deputies of the Austrian Parliament and has its seat in the parliament building in the federal capital Vienna . In accordance with the Federal Constitutional Act, it is appointed to legislate at the federal level with the Federal Council , which represents the states . Both chambers are set up as independent bodies. In general, initiatives are first discussed by the National Council, with the Federal Council as the approving or rejecting body in the legislative process. In special cases, the National Council and the Federal Council act together asFederal Assembly together. The National Council election to XXVII. The legislative period took place on September 29, 2019.

    story

    Forerunner - National Assemblies

    The furnishings of the mansion meeting room, where the National Council has met since 1920, was destroyed by bombs in 1945 (year of recording: 1930).

    Provisional National Assembly

    Near the end of World War I , when the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was on the decay occurred on 21st October 1918 , the (they called themselves) German Members of the House of Representatives of the kk  Imperial Council under the equal, alternately acting chairman Karl Seitz , Jodok Fink and Franz Dinghofer together in the Lower Austrian Landhaus in Vienna as a provisional national assembly for German Austria .

    On October 30, they elected an executive committee from among their number, which was called the German-Austrian Council of State . Equal, alternating chairmen were Karl Seitz , Johann Hauser and Franz Dinghofer . The State Council elected Karl Renner as State Chancellor. He also elected the Renner I state government as the highest administration of the new state; the state secretaries (= ministers) took over the business of the last kk  government, Heinrich Lammasch's liquidation ministry , as well as the kuk war minister , the joint foreign minister and thecommon finance minister .

    On November 12, the old Austrian Imperial Council held after the last Habsburgs - Emperor , Charles I , the day before his waiver proposal Lammasch (which was discussed with the German Austrian Council of State) in German Austria "any share in the affairs of state" waived and Lammasch and the minister had suspended his last meeting that morning; very few non-German MPs still attended. In the afternoon, the National Assembly met for the first time in the parliament building and passed the law on the state and government form of German Austria announced the day before .Its Art. 1 read: “German Austria is a democratic republic. All public powers are used by the people. ”Article 2 began with the sentence:“ German Austria is part of the German Republic. ”The decision was immediately announced to thousands of demonstrators in front of the house, thus proclaiming the republic .

    German MPs from Bohemia , Moravia , Austrian Silesia and South Tyrol took part in the meetings, citing the “ right of peoples to self-determination ” announced by US President Woodrow Wilson . German Austria claimed the German settlement areas there unsuccessfully because it could not prevent either Czechs or Italians from occupying German-settled areas. MPs from German West Hungary were not present because what would later become Burgenland was still part of the Kingdom of Hungary .

    Constituent National Assembly

    The election of the constituent National Assembly on February 16, 1919 could only take place in the actual territory of the state of German-Austria , which was contractually defined in the Treaty of Saint-Germain in autumn 1919 , with the exception of Burgenland , which was only taken over by Hungary in autumn 1921 . For the first time in the history of Austria, all adult citizens who were in the territory of the time were able to participate in this election. Citizens of the German Reich were also entitled to vote if they were in Austria at the time of the election.

    The National Assembly elected the Renner II , Renner III and Mayr I state governments in 1919/20 . The Mayr I cabinet officiated its last ten days in November 1920 as the first federal government of the First Republic .

    With the ratification of the Treaty of Saint-Germain - on the content of which the delegation of the Council of State under Karl Renner had almost no influence - on October 21, 1919 by the National Assembly, the competence of the Parliament definitely no longer extended to those which were only claimed, but not dominated German settlement areas in old Austria. The previous name State of German Austria had to be replaced by the Republic of Austria according to the treaty . In addition, the connection to Germany was excluded. However, in accordance with the treaties of Saint-Germain and Trianon, in the autumn of 1921 German West Hungary, called Burgenland in Austria , was added to Austria .

    Legitimated by the people, the Constituent National Assembly proceeded to pass the Federal Constitutional Act (B-VG) on October 1, 1920 , which came into force on November 10, 1920. At the same time u. a. created the state of Vienna .

    National Council

    Federal Law Gazette of November 10, 1920: Law of October 1, 1920, with which the Republic of Austria is established as a federal state (Federal Constitutional Law).

    1920 - First National Council election of the First Republic

    With regard to the new constitution, new elections were held on October 17, 1920, the first National Council election in the history of the country. With it, the grand coalition of the founding phase of the republic (most recently: state or federal government Mayr I ) came to an end. The National Council, which replaced the National Assembly on November 10, 1920, had - like today - 183 members. With the introduction of the federal law of July 11, 1923 on the election regulations for the National Council, the number of mandates was reduced to 165 (§ 1 NRWO 1923). In the First Republic, the National Council was the stage for violent disputes between the conservative governments led by the Christian Socialsand the Social Democrats in opposition since the fall of 1920 .

    1927 - The Justice Palace fire as a controversial topic

    The fire of the Justice Palace in Vienna on July 15, 1927 sparked particularly heated discussions in the National Council . As a result of a peaceful mass demonstration against an alleged wrong judgment, arsonists set the Palace of Justice on fire, whereupon the Federal Police under their President Johann Schober hunted down all the demonstrators and shot around 90 of them. Federal Chancellor Ignaz Seipel , a doctor of theology and ordained priest, responded to reproaches from Social Democratic MPs with a request to speak, which earned him the title prelate without leniency among the workers .

    1929 - Constitutional amendment

    Nevertheless, a constitutional amendment was passed in 1929 , which, at the request of the conservatives, strengthened the rights of the Federal President . He was no longer elected by parliament, but by the people. As a compromise with the Social Democrats, however, most of the Federal President's rights were tied to proposals made by the Federal Government , which is responsible to the National Council. This was no longer elected by the National Council, but appointed by the Federal President; if the National Council expressed their distrust, the Federal President had to recall her. The supreme command of the armed forces also passed from the National Council to the Federal President.

    1930 - Last National Council election in the First Republic

    On November 9, 1930, the last National Council election before the dictatorship and war years took place. The National Socialists received 3% of the valid votes and thus no mandate, the stalemate between Conservatives and Social Democrats remained.

    1933 - elimination of the National Council

    When, in the course of a vote in which every vote counted (the presiding president did not vote at the time), on March 4, 1933, all three presidents of the National Council ( Karl Renner , Rudolf Ramek and Sepp Straffner ) stepped down one after the other - the National Council rules of procedure did not contain any provision for this case - the meeting could no longer be ended in accordance with the law.

    The then Federal Chancellor , Engelbert Dollfuss , used this opportunity to switch off parliamentarism in Austria (see “ Parliament's self-deactivation ”). The reassembly of the members of parliament was prevented by Dollfuss on March 15, 1933 with police violence. The Constitutional Court could not be appealed to because it no longer had a quorum due to the resignation of the conservative judges initiated by the government. The Federal Council as a second chamber also remained as the country daily functioning.

    1934 - civil war

    In the course of the February fighting from February 12, 1934, the Dollfuss government banned the Social Democratic Party and canceled all parliamentary mandates of the Social Democrats.

    1933–1945 - Two dictatorships

    Chancellor Dollfuss abused the War Economic Enabling Act of 1917 , which continued to apply in accordance with constitutional law after the First World War, and continued to rule with ordinances. On May 1, 1934, he converted the republic into an authoritarian corporate state , but was himself murdered on July 25, 1934 in a National Socialist attempted coup . For four years, the Fatherland Front , which emerged from the Christian Social Party , ruled without a parliament (compare Austrofascism ), until Austria with the " annexation " to the German Reich enforced by domestic and foreign National Socialistsceased to exist as an independent state on March 13, 1938. During the Nazi era , the parliament building was used as the seat of the district administration of Vienna and was known as the "Gauhaus".

    1945 - First National Council election of the Second Republic

    On November 25, 1945, the Provisional State Government under Karl Renner, in office since April 27, 1945, held the first National Council election since 1930, the first in the Second Republic. Around 800,000 former NSDAP members were not eligible to vote. Thereafter, 22 further elections to the National Council have taken place to date with the 2019 election.

    The rules of procedure of the National Council were only amended in 1975 so that a repetition of the crisis of 1933 could be ruled out.

    From 1945 the National Council initially had 165 members, it was not until 1971 that the number of members was increased to 183 again. This was the SPÖ's counter-performance to the FPÖ for supporting the SPÖ minority government . The primary wish of the Freedom Party was to regain a club strength of 5.5 percent, which was then eight MPs.

    Legislative periods

    The legislative periods in the National Council are officially known as legislative periods (GP) . These are numbered with Roman numerals as a prefix.

    List of all legislative periods
    (National Assemblies 1918–1920)
    Legislative period
    (National Assembly)
    Period
    from - to
    choice election day
    Provisional National Assembly 10/21/1918 - 02/16/1919 no choice
    Constituent National Assembly 03/04/1919 - 11/09/1920 KNV 1919 Feb 16, 1919
    I. Legislative period 11/10/1920 - 11/20/1923 NRW 1920 Oct 17, 1920
    II legislative period November 20, 1923 - May 18, 1927 NRW 1923 Oct 21, 1923
    III. Legislative period May 18, 1927 - October 1, 1930 NRW 1927 Apr. 24, 1927
    IV. Legislative period 12/02/1930 - 05/02/1934 NRW 1930 Nov 9, 1930
    V. Legislative period December 19, 1945 - November 8, 1949 NRW 1945 Nov 25, 1945
    VI. Legislative period November 8, 1949 - March 18, 1953 NRW 1949 Oct 9, 1949
    VII. Legislative period 03/18/1953 - 06/08/1956 NRW 1953 Feb 22, 1953
    VIII. Legislative period 06/08/1956 - 06/09/1959 NRW 1956 May 13, 1956
    IX. Legislative period 06/09/1959 - 12/14/1962 NRW 1959 May 10, 1959
    Xth legislative period December 14, 1962 - March 30, 1966 NRW 1962 Nov 18, 1962
    XI. Legislative period 03/30/1966 - 03/31/1970 NRW 1966 March 6, 1966
    XII. Legislative period 03/31/1970 - 11/4/1971 NRW 1970 March 1, 1970
    XIII. Legislative period 11/04/1971 - 11/04/1975 NRW 1971 Oct 10, 1971
    XIV. Legislative period 11/04/1975 - 06/04/1979 NRW 1975 Oct. 5, 1975
    XV. Legislative period 06/05/1979 - 05/18/1983 NRW 1979 May 6, 1979
    XVI. Legislative period May 19, 1983 - December 16, 1986 NRW 1983 Apr. 24, 1983
    XVII. Legislative period 12/17/1986 - 11/4/1990 NRW 1986 Nov 23, 1986
    XVIII. Legislative period 11/05/1990 - 11/06/1994 NRW 1990 Oct 7, 1990
    XIX. Legislative period 11/07/1994 - 01/14/1996 NRW 1994 Oct 9, 1994
    XX. Legislative period January 15, 1996 - October 28, 1999 NRW 1995 Dec 17, 1995
    XXI. Legislative period October 29, 1999 - December 19, 2002 NRW 1999 Oct 3, 1999
    XXII. Legislative period 12/20/2002 - 10/29/2006 NRW 2002 Nov 24, 2002
    XXIII. Legislative period 10/30/2006 - 10/27/2008 NRW 2006 Oct 1, 2006
    XXIV. Legislative period 10/28/2008 - 10/28/2013 NRW 2008 28 Sep 2008
    XXV. Legislative period October 29, 2013 - November 8, 2017 NRW 2013 29 Sep 2013
    XXVI. Legislative period 09/11/2017 - 22/10/2019 NRW 2017 Oct 15, 2017
    XXVII. Legislative period since October 23, 2019 NRW 2019 29 Sep 2019
    Legislative period
    (National Assembly)
    Period
    from - to
    choice election day

    Competencies of the National Council

    legislation

    Initiative motions, government bills and referendums

    Legislative initiatives can be introduced by members of parliament (so-called initiative motions) and committees of the National Council, the Federal Government (so-called government bills ), the Federal Council and, by means of referendums, by citizens. The initiatives actually implemented, however, almost always come from the government; even if the government parliamentary groups introduce them as supposedly spontaneous initiative motions in order to avoid the weeks-long review process that is envisaged before the submission of government proposals.

    Three readings of the motion

    After a legislative proposal has been made, three so-called readings (discussions on the proposal) are planned:

    • The first reading is devoted to the justification of the request and its content; then the proposal is usually assigned to the responsible committee or sub-committee.
    • The second reading begins with a committee report on the proposal and is reserved for the special debate where the proposal can be discussed paragraph by paragraph if necessary.
    • The third reading should normally take place at least one day after the second reading in order to insert a “pause for reflection” and then to discuss the entire proposal again in the wording that resulted from the second reading before the enactment of the law. However, by means of a resolution it can also follow the second reading immediately, especially if no one wants to speak up because the matter was already "discussed" in the second reading and the government groups are in agreement.

    The system of the three readings comes from the Imperial and Royal  Reichsratand is explained by the situation at the time: The first reading served as a simple communication, a task that the media have long since taken over. The second reading served to deliberate in detail; Today, this task is largely performed by the appraisal process, in which the responsible minister invites all statutory and thematically appropriate private-law interest groups to comment on the ministry draft before the final decision on a government proposal is made by the federal government. The opinions received from the experts, which are usually also communicated by them in the media, often lead to considerable changes in the ministry's drafts. The third reading would take place in a parliament without fixed majorities, as the Reichsrat was in its last decades,

    Resolution requirements

    The National Council passes simple federal laws with the presence of at least one third of all MPs (lawyers call this minimum attendance quorum ) with a simple majority. In the same way, it can dissolve or express its mistrust in the federal government or individual members thereof.

    In the case of persistence resolutions following a veto by the Federal Council, at least half of all MPs must be present. A simple majority of the votes is sufficient.

    The presence of at least half of all MPs and a two-thirds majority of the votes are required to pass federal constitutional laws.

    In addition, the National Council can schedule referendums and referendums . A referendum takes place by order of the Federal President,

    • if the National Council decides to hold a referendum on one of its legislative resolutions (for this resolution the same rules of attendance and majority apply as for the statutory resolution), or if so requested by the majority of the members of the National Council ( Art. 43 B-VG);
    • on any general amendment to the Federal Constitution ( Art. 44 Para. 3 B-VG);
    • a partial amendment of the Federal Constitution (i.e. every Federal Constitutional Law) if this is requested by a third of the members of the National Council or the Federal Council ( Art. 44 Para. 3 B-VG).

    A referendum, the result of which does not bind the National Council, can be decided by it with the attendance and majority rules required for a simple federal law on matters of fundamental importance for Austria as a whole, on which the attitude of the Austrian population is to be researched.

    Role of the Federal Council

    After the decision of the National Council, the Federal Chancellor forwards it to the Federal Council. Exceptions are financial laws, the rules of procedure of the National Council and the resolution on its self-dissolution, which the latter decides without the Federal Council.

    In most cases, the Federal Council only has the option of a suspensive veto on the decisions of the National Council. He only has an absolute veto on decisions that affect his own competencies or those of the countries. In the case of a suspensive veto by the Federal Council, the National Council can pass a persistent resolution with which it overcomes the objection of the Federal Council. If the Federal Council does not comment on a National Council resolution within eight weeks, it is deemed to have been approved by the Federal Council in silence.

    Notarization by the Federal President

    Finally, the constitutional implementation of the legislative resolution is certified by the Federal President and countersigned by the Federal Chancellor. How far the term constitutionality is to be interpreted by the Federal President is not determined in the constitution. So far, the Federal Presidents have limited themselves to the formal control of the legislative process and any obvious unconstitutional violations. For a detailed review of the substantive constitutionality of laws is the Constitutional Court appointed; he can only take action when a law has been promulgated and has come into force.

    Come into effect

    The Federal Chancellor must immediately publish the notarized law in the Federal Law Gazette. It becomes legally binding on the day after the announcement date (shown on the title page of the law gazette) if no other date for the entry into force is specified in the law itself.

    Participation in the implementation of the federal government

    The National Council has certain rights of consent and approval vis-à-vis the Federal Government and the Federal President, for example with regard to the conclusion of international treaties. He also proposes the appointment of three members and two substitute members of the Constitutional Court to the Federal President . Since the Court of Auditors is an organ of the parliament (Art. 122 para. 1 B-VG), the National Council elects its President (Art. 122 para. 4 B-VG). In addition, the National Council can instruct the Court of Auditors to carry out individual audits. It is the same with the election of the three ombudsmen ; the three largest parliamentary groups have the right to make proposals. The National Council may join the Federal Assembly together with the Federal Counciltogether (Art. 38 B-VG). Although this is made up of organs of the legislature , it is purely an executive body.

    A special case is the permanent prevention or completion - through death, resignation, removal from office or the end of the term of office of a Federal President before a new one was elected, as was last the case in 2016 - of the office of the Federal President . In this case, the Presidium of the National Council appointed to represent it (Art. 64 Para. 1 B-VG).

    Control rights vis-à-vis the administration

    The National Council has the following control rights vis-à-vis the administration:

    Right of interpellation

    The National Council has a right of interpellation (= right to ask questions) vis-à-vis the Federal Government - in the form of written, oral and urgent questions.

    Right of resolution

    The National Council can express its wishes regarding the exercise of enforcement in resolutions (Art. 52 para. 1 B-VG). These resolutions are not legally binding, but they do have some political power.

    Right to squeeze

    The establishment of committees of inquiry (Art. 53 B-VG) is also a possibility of political control over the executive.

    Ministerial charge

    The National Council can hold the members of the Federal Government legally liable for violations of the law and criminally prosecutable acts with an indictment before the Constitutional Court (Art. 76 B-VG in conjunction with Art. 142 B-VG).

    Vote of no confidence

    The National Council also has the competence to express mistrust to an individual member or to the entire federal government (Art. 74 B-VG). The Federal President must then immediately remove the member concerned or the entire government from their office.

    Control rights

    Moreover, the National Council exercises its control rights or by the Court of Auditors , the Ombudsman's Office and the Armed Forces -Beschwerdekommission out.

    Self-dissolution

    The National Council can dissolve itself at any time by passing a simple law and thus force new elections. Since the beginning of the Second Republic, 21 of the 25 (as of 2018) previous legislative periods have ended in this way. During the First Republic, three of the four legislative periods were terminated prematurely, two of them through self-dissolution. Self-dissolution is laid down in Article 29 of the Federal Constitutional Law.

    MPs

    The National Council consists of 183  members , who are usually elected every five years.

    As in most democracies, the members of the National Council in Austria also have political immunity . This is divided into:

    • Professional immunity: MPs can only be held responsible for their statements in plenary by the National Council itself (personal reason for exclusion from punishment).
    • Extra-professional immunity: A member of parliament may typically only be prosecuted for his extra-parliamentary criminal behavior with the consent of the immunity committee, unless the offense is obviously not related to his political activity (e.g. false testimony in court in a criminal process) or he was caught red-handed committing a crime . In this case, the Immunity Committee can demand the end of the persecution (and the lifting of an arrest that has already been carried out). Prosecution is possible again as soon as the mandate ends.

    In autumn 2011 a new regulation of the immunity of MPs was discussed.

    The individual MPs are constitutionally free to exercise their mandate and are not bound by any instructions. He is also not allowed to accept any orders to vote or speak in this or that sense. In relation to this, there is a tension between the efforts of every party represented in parliament to achieve “closed voting behavior” for their parliamentary group (the so-called “club compulsion”). For many years the parties demanded blank declarations of resignation from their MPs as a means of pressure, until this was recognized as illegal. Today, psychological group pressure and the prospect of not appearing on the candidate list at the next election must be enough. The parliamentary groups must also tolerate MEPs who cannot reconcile a certain decision with their conscience, stay away from the vote in question. Likewise, when a member leaves his club (then non-attached as a so-called "wild member"), via the election proposal of the party from which he has received the mandate, or when changing to another club represented in parliament, from their party of origin not be forced to resign so that the party can again dispose of the mandate. In this case, the mandate for the club of origin is reduced. to resign his mandate so that the party can again dispose of the mandate. In this case, the mandate for the club of origin is reduced. to resign his mandate so that the party can again dispose of the mandate. In this case, the mandate for the club of origin is reduced.

    Members' salaries

    The remuneration of the members of the National Council is based on the Federal Remuneration Act (§ 1 BBezG). The amount of the remuneration is determined in the sense of an income pyramid. The starting amount is the beginning of this pyramid. This was set in 1997 at Schilling  100,000.00  (equivalent to around EUR 7,267.28). This starting amount is increased annually by a factor adjusted to the inflation rate (adjustment factor), which is determined by the President of the Court of Auditors and in the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitungis announced (Section 3 Paragraphs 1 and 2 BezBegrBVG in conjunction with Section 2 Paragraph 2 BBezG). In 2018, the President of the Court of Auditors determined an adjustment factor of 1.020. This resulted in a starting amount of EUR 8,930.88 on January 1, 2019.

    All other payments are calculated from this starting amount in accordance with Section 3 (1) BBezG. It gets

    • a member of the National Council: 100%
    • a club chairman: 170%
    • the second and third national council president: 170% each
    • the President of the National Council: 210%

    However, the National Council can also decide to omit this increase for all or for certain members of the parliament (zero wage round). The remuneration is due 14 times a year (§ 2 Paragraph 1 and § 5 BBezG) and must be paid in advance at the beginning of each month (§ 7 Paragraph BBezG). The entitlement to the remuneration begins on the day of the inauguration and ends on the day of leaving the function (Section 4 (1) BBezG). There are also special provisions for the reimbursement of expenses (Section 10 BBezG), for the reimbursement of business trips (Section 10 BBezG) and with regard to pension insurance (Sections 12ff BBezG). The organs may not waive cash benefits under the BBezG (§ 16 BBezG). The remuneration is according to § 25 Abs. 1 Z 4 lit. a Income Tax Act (EStG) Income from non-self-employed work and is therefore subject to wage tax (§§ 47ff EStG).

    Employees & expenses

    In accordance with Section 10 of the Federal Remuneration Act, the members of parliament are entitled to monthly expenses in order to settle the expenses incurred while exercising their mandate. These include travel costs, subsistence costs or office costs. The expenses are capped with a maximum of 12% of 98.96% of the monthly salary of a federal civil servant in the general administrative service, employment group A1, salary level 13 per month. For 2018 this means a remuneration of up to around 550 euros per month.

    Depending on the MP's place of origin, the amount increases by six percent per hour of additional travel time. The journey time will be determined by notification after the deputy has sworn in.

    Each member of parliament is entitled to monthly remuneration for service and work contracts through the Parliamentary Employees Act (ParlMG). The staff employed in this way are referred to as parliamentary staff. For this purpose, 98.96 per cent of the monthly salary of a federal civil servant in the general administrative service, employment group A1, salary level 13 plus the proportional special payments and any one-off payments in the public service are available. In 2018, this was around 4,590 euros. Less the employer costs, a gross salary of around 3,600 euros per month could be paid out in 2018. The salary can also be divided among several employees at the discretion of the MP.

    According to § 1 ParlMG, the tasks of parliamentary staff include providing assistance in connection with

    • the preparation of all tasks in the committee and plenary meetings of the National Council including the related activities,
    • the exercise of all rights and obligations otherwise arising from the Rules of Procedure Act 1975, Federal Law Gazette No. 410, or from other federal laws,
    • performing international parliamentary tasks and contacts,
    • making contact with citizens as well
    • informing the public about activities within the meaning of numbers 1–4.

    Parliamentary employees can work for several MPs and, in accordance with Section 4 ParlMG, can also be combined to form working groups for up to seven MPs. It is also customary to split employee remuneration by the hour; part of the remuneration is often spent on an employee in the electoral district of the member of parliament and the other part on an employee in Vienna. As a result, employees in Vienna often have contracts with several MPs and support them in their activities in the federal capital.

    Clubs

    Members of the National Council have the right to form so-called clubs . Since 2013, a club can only be founded at the beginning of the legislative period, within one month of the first meeting of the National Council. The MPs must belong to the same campaigning party or require the approval of the National Council to establish. A club must have at least five members. (§ 7 GOG-NR)

    Club promotion

    The parties represented in the Austrian National Council, specifically their party clubs, receive so-called “club funding” every year. This totaled 15.3 million euros up to 2008 and was divided according to the number of seats. In the first constituent meeting of the National Council after the National Council election in 2008 on October 28, 2008, it was unanimously decided to abolish the graduated club funding and to calculate it precisely for each member and to increase it by 15% or 2.3 million euros.

    In the wake of the financial crisis in 2008 and the threatened economic turmoil and against the background of increasing disenchantment with politics after the failure of a "permanently arguing" coalition in the Gusenbauer government , this significant increase caused a stir in the media and some outraged comments. For example, the National Council handled the increase “quietly and secretly” or “secretly and without any discussion”. The increase in club funding is "brazen", it "sells trust" and in a comment from the others the commentator asks whether the parliamentarians are a "caste of the inviolable".

    Bureau

    In the first session after the National Council election, the MPs elect the National Council President and two deputies (second and third presidents) from among their number, who take turns in chairing the meetings. The National Council is not bound by the size of the parliamentary groups when it is elected as president ; However, it has been practiced realpolitik since 1920 that the President of the National Council is nominated by the club with the highest mandate.

    Barbara Prammer ( SPÖ ) acted as President of the National Council in 2006 until her death on August 2, 2014 . She was followed on September 2, 2014 by MP Doris Bures (SPÖ) as President. Until November 9, 2017, the Presidium consisted of MP Karlheinz Kopf ( ÖVP ) as second President of the National Council and Norbert Hofer ( FPÖ ) as third President of the National Council.

    On November 9, 2017, at the first meeting of the XXVI. Legislative period, the presidium was re-elected, with Norbert Hofer retaining his function, the previous president Bures now becoming second president and Elisabeth Köstinger joining as president . Norbert Hofer and Elisabeth Köstinger were both appointed Federal Ministers in the Federal Government Kurz I on December 18, 2017 . On December 20, 2017, Wolfgang Sobotka took the place of Köstinger as the current President. Anneliese Kitzmüller succeeds Norbert Hofer.

    On October 23, 2019 the presidium for the XXVII. Legislative period in which Wolfgang Sobotka was elected as President of the National Council, Doris Bures (SPÖ) as the second President of the National Council and Norbert Hofer (FPÖ) as the third President of the National Council.

    Presidential Conference

    The presidents together with the club officers form the presidential conference. It is an advisory body and in particular submits proposals for the implementation of the work plans, the setting of the agenda and the session times of the National Council, the allocation of submissions to the committees and the coordination of the session times of the same as well as regarding the maintenance of international parliamentary relations.

    Certain items (such as issuing house rules) or orders from the President (e.g. speaking rules or speaking time restrictions) require prior consultation with the Presidential Conference. (§ 8 GOG-NR)

    National Council election

    Procedure

    Due to the equal, direct, personal, free and secret suffrage of men and women who have reached the age of 16 on election day (since 2007; previously the age of 18), 183 members of the federal people (according to the principles of proportional representation) ) (Art. 26 Para. 1 B-VG ). Eligible are those eligible to vote in the National Council who are Austrian citizens on the cut-off date and who have reached the age of 18 on the day of the election (Art. 26 Para. 4 B-VG). Election authorities, which are newly formed before each election (Art. 26a B-VG), are responsible for conducting and managing the National Council elections. The determination of the election result is divided into three investigative procedures. In the second and third preliminary investigation, theFour percent hurdle . If the result is certain, it must be announced immediately (Section 108 (4 ) NRWO ). The newly elected National Council must be convened by the Federal President within 30 days of the election at the latest (Art. 27 Para. 2 B-VG). In the meeting takes place a Angelobung of MPs (§ 1 4 Abs. GOG-NR ). After the inauguration, the elections for the President of the National Council (Section 5 (1) GOG-NR), the main committee (Article 55 (1) B-VG), the permanent sub-committee (Article 55 (3) B-VG) take place, the secretary (§ 5 Abs. 2 GOG-NR).

    National Council election results in the Second Republic

    The following are the National Council election results since 1945 as a percentage of the valid votes and number of mandates, with details of the subsequent government constellation:

    year period Mandates ÖVP SPÖ FPÖ Green LiF / NEOS BZÖ KPÖ Others
    > 1%
    special
    Stige
    government
    1945 5 165 49.8 85 44.6 76 5.4 4th - - 0.2 ÖVP - SPÖ - KPÖ 1
    1949 6th 165 44.0 77 38.7 67 2 11.7 16 5.1 5 - - 0.5 ÖVP - SPÖ
    1953 7th 165 41.3 74 42.1 73 2 10.9 14th 3 5.3 4th - - 0.4 ÖVP - SPÖ
    1956 8th 165 46.0 82 43.0 74 6.5 6th 4 4.4 3 - - 0.1 ÖVP - SPÖ
    1959 9 165 44.2 79 44.8 78 7.7 8th 4 3.3 - - - 0.1 ÖVP - SPÖ
    1962 10 165 45.4 81 44.0 76 7.0 8th 4 3.0 - - - 0.5 ÖVP - SPÖ
    1966 11 165 48.4 85 42.6 74 5.4 6th 4 0.4 - DFP 3.3 - 0.0 ÖVP
    1970 12 165 44.7 78 48.4 81 5.5 6th 1.0 - - - 0.4 SPÖ 5
    1971 13 183 43.1 80 50.0 93 5.5 10 1.4 - - - 0.0 SPÖ
    1975 14th 183 42.9 80 50.4 93 5.4 10 1.2 - - - 0.0 SPÖ
    1979 15th 183 41.9 77 51.0 95 6.1 11 1.0 - - - 0.0 SPÖ
    1983 16 183 43.2 81 47.6 90 5.0 12 6 3.4 - 0.7 - - - 0.1 SPÖ - FPÖ
    1986 17th 183 41.3 77 43.1 80 9.7 18th 4.8 8th 0.7 - - - 0.3 SPÖ - ÖVP
    1990 18th 183 32.1 60 42.8 80 16.6 33 4.8 10 0.6 - VGÖ 2.0 - 1.3 SPÖ - ÖVP
    1994 19th 183 27.7 52 34.9 65 22.5 42 7.3 13 6.0 11 0.3 - - - 1.4 SPÖ - ÖVP
    1995 20th 183 28.3 52 38.1 71 21.9 41 4.8 9 5.5 10 0.3 - NO 1.1 - 1.1 SPÖ - ÖVP
    1999 21st 183 26.9 52 33.2 65 26.9 52 7.4 14th 3.7 - 0.5 - DU 1.0 - 0.5 ÖVP - FPÖ
    2002 22nd 183 42.3 79 36.5 69 10.0 18th 9.5 17th 1.0 - 0.6 - - - 0.2 ÖVP - FPÖ 7
    2006 23 183 34.3 66 35.3 68 11.0 21st 11.0 21st 8th 8th 4.1 7th 1.0 - MATIN 2.8 - 0.5 SPÖ - ÖVP
    2008 24 183 26.0 51 29.3 57 17.5 34 10.4 20th 2.1 - 10.7 21st 0.8 - FRITZ 1.8 - 1.5 SPÖ - ÖVP
    2013 25th 183 24.0 47 26.8 52 20.5 40 12.4 24 9 5.0 9 3.5 - 1.0 - FRANK 5.7 11 1.0 SPÖ - ÖVP
    2017 26th 183 31.5 62 26.9 52 26.0 51 3.8 - 5.3 10 0.8 - MUSHROOM 4.4 8th 1.4 ÖVP - FPÖ
    2019 27 183 37.5 71 21.2 40 16.2 31 13.9 26th 8.1 15th 0.0 - 0.7 - NOW 1.9 - 0.6 ÖVP - GREEN
    year period Mandates ÖVP SPÖ FPÖ Green LiF / NEOS BZÖ KPÖ Others
    > 1%
    special
    Stige
    government
    Table legend

    Results in italics : party did not move into the National Council.

    1 until November 20, 1947
    3 Electoral Community of the Austrian People's Opposition (VO)
    4th Communists and Left Socialists (KuL / KLS)
    5 Minority government
    7thfrom April 17, 2005 Alliance Future Austria (BZÖ)
    8thThe Liberal Forum did not run its own list in 2006. Alexander Zach ran for this on the list of the SPÖ and moved into the National Council on an SPÖ mandate. However, he asserted that for the entire period of the National Council he was actually only sitting on a loan mandate from the SPÖ for the Liberal Forum and that he was free from the SPÖ club.
    Line graph of the results of the National Council elections since 1945
    Results of the National Council elections since 1945

    NR composition in the legislative period 2019–

    Distribution of seats

    The following parliamentary clubs exist in the National Council in the current legislative period :

    club before the
    2019 election
    right after
    the 2019 election
    last
    ÖVP 61 71 71
    SPÖ 52 40 40
    FPÖ 50 31 30th
    GREEN - 26th 26th
    NEOS 10 15th 15th
    Non-attached 4th - 1
    NOW A 6th - -
    total 183 183 183
    A. Until November 19, 2018, the club was called "Liste Pilz".

    Changes in club size

    • Philippa Strache was not accepted into the FPÖ club and was therefore sworn in as a non-attached MP.

    Relationship to the Federal President

    The Federal President calls the National Council - in accordance with Art. 28 Para. 1 B-VG - to an ordinary meeting every year. Extraordinary meetings are called and the meetings are closed by the Federal President on the decision of the National Council itself. The Federal President has no political leeway on these points, but is strictly bound by the text of the constitution and the decisions of the National Council itself.

    However, the head of state can dissolve the National Council on the proposal of the federal government, but only once for the same reason. So far this has only happened in 1930 through Wilhelm Miklas . But a government appointed by the Federal President cannot stand up to a majority in the National Council. The initiative for convening the Federal Assembly, for indicting or calling a referendum to remove the Federal President comes from the National Council. So far, however, the National Council has never taken such a step. The negative outcome of a referendum to remove the Federal President is not only synonymous with his re-election, but also leads to the dissolution of the National Council in accordance with Art. 60B-VG.

    The relationship between the Federal President and the other state organs is generally characterized by the so-called renunciation of roles .

    What the National Council and the Federal President have in common is that both have a high degree of democratic legitimacy. They are elected directly by the federal people.

    Committees

    In the National Council, in each legislative period, the parliamentary groups nominate members for the committees that discuss motions and prepare resolutions for the plenary, depending on their mandate .

    There are constitutionally mandatory and voluntary committees that can be formed if necessary. In the XXII. During the legislative period there were 36 committees. Fixed committees include the Main Committee , the Court of Auditors Committee , the Immunity Committee and the Budget Committee . The voluntary committees, on the other hand, include the Justice Committee, the Social Committee, the National Defense Committee or the various committees of inquiry .

    List of current committees
    • Labor and Social Affairs Committee
    • Foreign Affairs Committee
    • Building Committee
    • Budget committee
    • Standing subcommittee of the Budget Committee
    • Family Committee
    • Finance committee
    • Research, Innovation and Technology Committee
    • Rules of Procedure Committee
    • Health committee
    • Equal Treatment Committee
    • Main committee
    • Standing subcommittee of the main committee
    • Standing subcommittee on European Union affairs
    • Immunity Committee
    • Internal Affairs Committee
    • Standing Subcommittee of the Internal Affairs Committee
    • Judicial committee
    • Consumer Protection Committee
    • Culture Committee
    • National Defense Committee
    • Standing subcommittee of the National Defense Committee
    • Agriculture and Forestry Committee
    • Human Rights Committee
    • Committee on Petitions and Citizens' Initiatives
    • Standing subcommittee of the Court of Auditors Committee
    • Court of Auditors Committee
    • Sports Affairs Committee
    • Tourism Committee
    • Environment Committee
    • Teaching committee
    • Incompatibility Committee
    • Constitutional Committee
    • Transport Committee
    • Ombudsman Committee
    • Committee on Economy and Industry
    • Science Committee
    • Permanent joint committee within the meaning of Section 9 of the Financial Constitutional Act 1948

    Boardroom

    The National Council has met since 1920 in the meeting room in which the Austrian mansion in the Reichsrat had met until October 1918 . After the interior was destroyed by a bomb during World War II , the hall was redesigned in a contemporary style by 1956. The central element is the federal eagle designed by Rudolf Hoflehner .

    Instead of the renovation of the worn interior planned for 2008, a general renovation, which is associated with high costs, was targeted after discussions and due to the identified poor state of construction of the parliament building. The decision to do so was only made after delays: in the summer of 2017, the entire parliamentary operations were relocated to the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg as a temporary meeting room and in containers on Heldenplatz ; further offices are set up in the Hofburg. The federal eagle remains veiled in the National Council meeting room because it was not possible to move due to its size and weight.

    Above all, the National Council meeting room is to be made more handicapped-friendly, the height of the government bench is to be lowered and the spectator gallery is to be enlarged. This also includes the renewal of the rows of seats and the hall electronics. The architectural renewal is limited by the monument protection. A faithful restoration of the hall as it looked before it was destroyed in World War II is not planned.

    Since September 20, 2017, the National Council and Federal Council have been meeting in the Great Redoutensaal of the Vienna Hofburg due to the renovation of the historic parliament building, while the offices are housed in external pavilions on Heldenplatz.

    criticism

    There is also fundamental criticism of the National Council in the media:

    "103 of the 183 members of the National Council [in April 2011, note] are civil servants, party, trade union or chamber employees [...] Only 41 work in the private sector or as freelancers."
    • The right to vote against party lists prevents most mandataries from defending their constitutionally free mandate, which is only committed to their conscience, against the group discipline (the so-called “club compulsion”) of their parliamentary group. Anyone who votes against their parliamentary group several times will no longer stand for the next election. The Pilz list abolished this “club obligation” for its members of parliament.
    • Members of the government parliamentary groups would not see themselves as legislative controllers of the executive, but as helpers of the government, due to the club discipline. Their legislative proposals (government drafts), which are passed in the weekly Council of Ministers, would be presented to the members of the National Council so that they could be implemented with more or less “nodding”.
    • The right to vote on lists also means that MPs feel far less committed to their voters than in electoral systems in which one MP is elected per constituency. Above all, they are obliged to the party that has included them in the nomination.
    • The Austrian parliament makes far fewer resources available to its members than z. B. the German Bundestag or the Congress of the United States . The members of the National Council are therefore mostly dependent on the expertise of ministries and interest groups, who pursue their own agenda.
    • MEPs often pass laws the content of which they do not understand because it is written in expert language and not in generally understandable terms.

    See also

    More special:

    Web links

    Commons : Nationalrat (Austria)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. StGBl. No. 5/1918, p. 4
    2. Simon Rosner: The way of the vote in the National Council. In: Wiener Zeitung. Retrieved September 19, 2019 .
    3. a b c Portal: National Council and Federal Government on the website of the Austrian Parliament.
    4. ^ The legislative periods of the National Council. In: parlament.gv.at. Retrieved September 10, 2018 .
    5. Jump up affair: Westenthaler burdened by bodyguards. In: DiePresse.com. February 20, 2008, accessed December 31, 2017 .
    6. ^ Criticism of new immunity rules. In: oe1 . ORF .at, autumn 2011, accessed on September 14, 2011.
    7. ↑ For the determination of the starting amount of the income pyramid, see Section 12 (11) in the version of the Federal Payments Act, Federal Law Gazette I No. 64/1997 .
    8. Adjustment factor for the starting amount of the income pyramid in 2018. (PDF; 66.5 kB) Website of the Court of Auditors, accessed on September 30, 2019.
    9. Most recently on December 12, 2018, 4th federal law amending the federal law on payments . Retrieved September 30, 2019.
    10. Political parties increase their club funding by 15 percent. In: Die Presse , October 29, 2008, accessed November 3, 2008.
    11. Club funding increased: parties allow themselves more money. In: Kleine Zeitung , October 29, 2008, accessed on November 3, 2008.
    12. ^ A b c Andrea Heigl: Club promotion: trust sold. In: Der Standard , October 29, 2008, accessed November 3, 2008.
    13. Patrick Hartweg: Club Promotion: A 'caste of the untouchable'? Comments from the others in: Der Standard , print edition October 31, 2008, p. 46.
    14. Members elected the Presidency of the National Council on orf.at on October 23, 2019, accessed on October 24, 2019.
    15. polipedia.at
    16. ^ Herbert Lackner: Democracy without personnel. In: profil , No. 14, April 4, 2011, p. 22.
    17. ^ Kurier article from October 29, 2017