National Council (Austria)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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 legislature
Last choice: September 29, 2019
Chair: National Council President
Wolfgang Sobotka ( ÖVP )
II. Doris Bures (SPÖ)
III. Norbert Hofer (FPÖ)
Club affiliation as of October 23, 2019
Allocation of seats: government (97)
  • ÖVP 71
  • GREEN 26th
  • Opposition (86)
  • SPÖ 40
  • FPÖ 30
  • NEOS 15
  • non-attached 1
  • site

    The National Council is the Chamber of Deputies of the Austrian Parliament and has its seat in the Parliament Building in the federal capital of Vienna . According to the Federal Constitutional Law , together with the Bundesrat , which represents the federal states , it is called upon to legislate on the federal level. Both chambers are set up as independent bodies. In general, initiatives are initially discussed by the National Council, with the Federal Council acting as the confirming or rejecting body in the legislative process. In special cases, the National Council and the Federal Council meet together as the Federal Assembly . The National Council election for the XXVII. Legislative period took place on September 29, 2019.


    Forerunners – National Assemblies

    The furnishings of the Herrenhaus conference room, where the National Council had met since 1920, were destroyed by bombs in 1945 (year of recording: 1930).

    Provisional National Assembly

    Shortly before the end of the First World War , when the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was in the process of disintegrating, the (as they called themselves) German members of the House of Representatives of the Imperial and Royal Reichsrat , under the equal, alternately acting chairman Karl Seitz , Jodok Fink and Franz Dinghofer together in the Lower Austrian country house in Vienna as the provisional national assembly for German Austria .  

    On October 30, they elected an executive committee from among themselves, which called itself the German-Austrian State Council . 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 supreme administration of the new state; At the beginning of November, the state secretaries (= ministers) took over the business of the last imperial and royal  government, Heinrich Lammasch 's Ministry of Liquidation , as well as the imperial and royal war minister , the joint foreign minister and the joint finance minister .

    On November 12, after the last Habsburg Emperor , Charles I , had declared his waiver at Lammasch's suggestion (which had been agreed with the German-Austrian Council of State) the day before , the old Austrian Reichsrat held "waived any share in state affairs" in German-Austria, as well as Lammasch and the ministers had dismissed the morning session from its last session; very few non-German delegates took part. In the afternoon, the National Assembly met for the first time in the parliament building and passed the law on the form of government and government of German-Austria that had been announced the day before . Its Art. 1 read: “German Austria is a democratic republic. All public powers are used by the people.” Art. 2 began with the sentence: “German-Austria is part of the German Republic.” The resolution was immediately announced to thousands of demonstrators in front of the house, and the Republic was thus proclaimed .

    German MPs from Bohemia , Moravia , Austrian Silesia and South Tyrol took part in the meetings, citing the “ right of peoples to self-determination ” proclaimed by US President Woodrow Wilson . However, German-Austria unsuccessfully claimed the German settlement areas there, since neither Czechs nor Italians could prevent them from occupying German-settled areas. MPs from German-West Hungary were not present, since what later became Burgenland was still part of the Kingdom of Hungary at the time.

    Constituent National Assembly

    The election of the constituent national assembly on February 16, 1919 could only take place in the actual sovereign 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 Austria at that time could take part in this election. Citizens of the German Reich were also entitled to vote if they were in Austria at the time of the election.

    In 1919/20 the National Assembly elected the state governments Renner II , Renner III and Mayr I. 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 State Council under Karl Renner could have almost no influence - on October 21, 1919 by the National Assembly, the competence of Parliament definitely no longer extended to those only claimed, but not dominated German settlement areas in Old Austria. According to the treaty, the previous name State of German Austria had to be replaced by the Republic of Austria . In addition, the connection to Germany was excluded. However, in accordance with the treaties of Saint-Germain and Trianon in the autumn of 1921, Austria was granted German-West Hungary, called Burgenland in Austria, which had been ceded by Hungary .

    Legitimated by the people, the Constituent National Assembly set about enacting the Federal Constitutional Law (B-VG) on October 1, 1920, which came into force on November 10, 1920. At the same time, u. a. created the federal state of Vienna .

    National Council

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

    1920 – First National Council election of the First Republic

    In view of the new constitution, new elections were held on October 17, 1920, the first National Council election in the country's history. With her, the grand coalition of the founding phase of the republic (last: 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 deputies. However, with the introduction of the federal law of July 11, 1923 on the electoral 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 heated arguments between the conservative governments led by the Christian Socialists and the Social Democrats , who had been in opposition since the autumn of 1920 .

    1927 – The fire in the Palace of Justice as a topic of controversy

    The Vienna Palace of Justice fire on July 15, 1927 triggered particularly heated discussions in the National Council . Arsonists had set fire to the Palace of Justice during a peaceful mass demonstration against an alleged wrongful conviction , whereupon the Federal Police under their President Johann Schober hunted down all the demonstrators and shot around 90 of them. Chancellor Ignaz Seipel , a doctor of theology and ordained priest, reacted to accusations from Social Democratic MPs with a statement that earned him the title of prelate without leniency among the workers .

    1929 – Amendment to the Constitution

    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. However, as a compromise with the Social Democrats, most of the President's rights were tied to proposals from the Federal Government , which is accountable to the National Council. This was no longer elected by the National Council, but appointed by the Federal President; if the National Council voted no confidence in her, the Federal President had to recall her. The supreme command of the federal army 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 years of dictatorship and war 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 President in the chair did not vote at the time), on March 4, 1933, all three Presidents of the National Council ( Karl Renner , Rudolf Ramek and Sepp Straffner ) resigned one after the other - the The National Council 's rules of procedure contained no provision for this case - the session could no longer be ended in accordance with the law.

    The then Federal Chancellor , Engelbert Dollfuss , used this opportunity to eliminate parliamentarism in Austria (see “ Self-elimination of Parliament ”). The reconvening of the deputies was prevented by Dollfuss on March 15, 1933 with police violence. The Constitutional Court could not be appealed to because it was no longer able to pass resolutions due to the government's resignation of the conservative judges. The Bundesrat , as the second chamber, remained functional, as did the state parliaments .

    1934 - Civil War

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

    1933-1945 - Two dictatorships

    Chancellor Dollfuss abused the War Economy Enabling Act of 1917, which continued to apply after the First World War in accordance with constitutional law, and continued to govern with ordinances. On May 1, 1934, he transformed the republic into an authoritarian corporate state , but was himself murdered on July 25, 1934 in a Nazi coup attempt . The Fatherland Front , which emerged from the Christian Social Party , ruled for four years without a parliament (compare Austrofascism ) until Austria ceased to exist as an independent state on March 13, 1938, when national and foreign National Socialists forced it to join the German Reich . During the Nazi era , the parliament building was used as the seat of Vienna's Gau administration and was referred to 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 entitled to vote. After that, with the 2019 election, 22 further National Council elections have taken place to date.

    The rules of procedure of the National Council were not amended until 1975 in such a way that a repetition of the 1933 crisis could be ruled out.

    From 1945 the National Council initially had 165 deputies, and it was not until 1971 that the number of deputies was increased again to 183. This was the SPÖ's quid pro quo to the FPÖ for supporting the SPÖ minority government . The Freedom Party's primary wish was to regain club strength, which at the time was 5.5 percent, which was eight MPs at the time.

    legislative periods

    The legislative periods in the National Council are officially referred to 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)
    from – to
    choice election day
    Provisional National Assembly 10/21/1918 – 02/16/1919 without choice
    Constituent National Assembly 03/04/1919 – 11/09/1920 KNV 1919 16 Feb 1919
    I. Legislative period 11/10/1920 – 11/20/1923 North Rhine-Westphalia 1920 17 Oct 1920
    II. Legislative period 11/20/1923 – 05/18/1927 North Rhine-Westphalia 1923 21 Oct 1923
    III. legislative period 05/18/1927 – 10/01/1930 North Rhine-Westphalia 1927 24 Apr 1927
    IV. Legislative period 12/02/1930 – 05/02/1934 North Rhine-Westphalia 1930 9 Nov 1930
    V. Legislative Period 12/19/1945 – 11/08/1949 North Rhine-Westphalia 1945 25 Nov 1945
    VI. legislative period 11/08/1949 – 03/18/1953 North Rhine-Westphalia 1949 9 Oct 1949
    VII Legislative Period 03/18/1953 – 06/08/1956 NRW 1953 22 Feb 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
    X. Legislative Period 12/14/1962 – 03/30/1966 NRW 1962 18 Nov 1962
    XI. legislative period 03/30/1966 – 03/31/1970 NRW 1966 March 6, 1966
    XII. legislative period 03/31/1970 – 11/04/1971 North Rhine-Westphalia 1970 March 1, 1970
    XIII. legislative period 11/04/1971 – 11/04/1975 NRW 1971 10 Oct 1971
    XIV Legislative Period 11/04/1975 – 06/04/1979 NRW 1975 5 Oct 1975
    XV. legislative period 06/05/1979 – 05/18/1983 NRW 1979 May 6, 1979
    XVI legislative period 05/19/1983 – 12/16/1986 NRW 1983 Apr 24, 1983
    XVIII. legislative period 12/17/1986 – 11/04/1990 NRW 1986 23 Nov 1986
    XVIII. legislative period 11/05/1990 – 11/06/1994 NRW 1990 7 Oct 1990
    XIX. legislative period 11/07/1994 – 01/14/1996 NRW 1994 Oct 9, 1994
    XX legislative period 01/15/1996 – 10/28/1999 NRW 1995 17 Dec 1995
    XXI. legislative period 10/29/1999 – 12/19/2002 NRW 1999 3 Oct 1999
    XXII. legislative period 12/20/2002 – 10/29/2006 NRW 2002 24 Nov 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 Sep 28 2008
    XXV. legislative period 10/29/2013 – 11/08/2017 NRW 2013 Sep 29 2013
    XXVI. legislative period 11/09/2017 – 10/22/2019 NRW 2017 15 Oct 2017
    XXVII. legislative period since 10/23/2019 NRW 2019 Sep 29 2019
    Legislative Period
    (National Assembly)
    from – to
    choice election day

    Competences of the National Council


    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 Bundesrat and by means of referendums by citizens. However, the initiatives that are actually implemented almost always come from the government; even if the government factions submit them as supposedly spontaneous initiative motions in order to avoid the review process that is planned to take a few weeks before government bills are submitted.

    Three readings of the application

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

    • The first reading is devoted to justifying the request and its content; after that, the proposal is usually assigned to the relevant committee or subcommittee.
    • The second reading begins with a committee report on the bill and is intended for the special debate, where the proposal can be discussed paragraph by paragraph if necessary.
    • The third reading should, according to the rules, take place at least one day after the second reading to allow for a "pause for reflection" and then to discuss the entire motion again in the wording resulting from the second reading before the law is passed. However, it can also be passed immediately after the second reading, especially if no one wants to speak because the matter has already been "discussed" in the second reading and the government factions are in agreement.

    The system of three readings comes from the Imperial and Royal  Reichsrat and can be explained by the situation at the time: the first reading was used for simple communication, a task that the media have long since taken over. The second reading was used for detailed advice; Today, this task is largely performed by the assessment 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 bill is passed by the federal government. The comments received from the experts, which are usually also communicated by them in the media, often lead to considerable changes in the ministry's drafts. In a parliament without fixed majorities, as the Reichsrat was in its last decades, the third reading would serve to form the final opinion of the factions as to whether they should vote for or against a motion.

    resolution requirements

    The National Council passes simple federal laws with a simple majority if at least one-third of all members of parliament are present (lawyers call this minimum attendance the presence quorum ). In the same way, he can dissolve himself or express no confidence in the federal government or individual members of the same.

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

    The presence of at least half of all deputies and a two-thirds majority of the votes are necessary for the adoption of federal constitutional laws.

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

    • if the National Council decides to hold a referendum on one of its legislative decisions (the same attendance and majority rules apply to this decision as to the legislative decision), or if this is requested by the majority of the members of the National Council ( Art. 43 B-VG);
    • about any overall change to the Federal Constitution ( Art. 44 Para. 3 B-VG);
    • about a partial change in the federal constitution (i.e. about 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 is not binding on the National Council, can be decided by it with the attendance and majority rules required for a simple federal law on matters of fundamental and national importance, on which the attitude of the Austrian population is to be investigated.

    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 own dissolution, which it decides without the Federal Council.

    In most cases, the Federal Council only has the option of a suspensive veto over the resolutions of the National Council. He only has an absolute veto on decisions that affect his own powers or those of the federal states. In the event of a suspensive veto by the Federal Council, the National Council can pass a resolution of inertia, overcoming the Federal Council's objection. 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 through silence.

    Certification by the Federal President

    Finally, the Federal President certifies that the law has been passed in accordance with the constitution, and the Federal Chancellor countersigns it. How far the concept of constitutionality is to be interpreted by the Federal President is not specified in the constitution. So far, the Federal Presidents have limited themselves to the formal control of the legislative process and, if necessary, to scrutinizing obvious violations of the constitution. The Constitutional Court is called upon to carry out a detailed examination of the constitutionality of the content of the laws ; he can only act once a law has been promulgated and has come into force.

    Come into effect

    The Federal Chancellor shall publish the notarised law without delay in the Federal Law Gazette. It comes into force on the day after the date of promulgation (shown on the front page of the Law Gazette), unless the law itself specifies another date for its entry into force.

    Participation in the implementation of the Confederation

    The National Council has certain rights of approval 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 that the Federal President appoint three members and two substitute members of the Constitutional Court . Since the Court of Auditors is an organ of 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 commission the Court of Auditors with individual audits. The same applies to the election of the three Ombudsman ; the three largest groups have the right to propose. If necessary, the National Council meets together with the Federal Council for the Federal Assembly (Art. 38 B-VG). Although this consists of organs of the legislature , it is a purely executive body.

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

    Control rights to the administration

    The National Council has the following rights of control over 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

    In resolutions, the National Council can express its wishes regarding the exercise of enforcement (Art. 52 Para. 1 B-VG). These resolutions are not legally binding, but still have some political force.

    right of inquiry

    The appointment 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 actions 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 authority to express no confidence in an individual member or in the entire federal government (Art. 74 B-VG). The Federal President must then immediately remove the member concerned or the entire government from office.

    control rights

    The National Council also exercises its control rights through the Court of Auditors , the Ombudsman Board and the Armed Forces Complaints Commission.


    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 ended prematurely, two of them through self-dissolution. Self-dissolution is stipulated in Article 29 of the Federal Constitutional Law.


    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 have political immunity . This is divided into:

    • Professional immunity: Members of Parliament can only be held responsible for their statements in the plenary session by the National Council itself (personal reason for exemption from prosecution).
    • Non-professional immunity: Typically, a Member of Parliament may only be prosecuted for his extra-parliamentary criminal behavior with the approval of the Immunity Committee, unless the act is obviously unrelated to his political activity (e.g. false testimony in court in a criminal case) or he was caught in the act of committing a crime . In this case, the Immunity Committee can demand the end of the prosecution (and the lifting of an arrest that has already been made). Prosecution is possible again as soon as the mandate ends.

    In autumn 2011, a new regulation of the immunity of members of parliament was discussed.

    According to the constitution, the individual member of parliament is free to exercise his mandate and is not bound by any instructions. Nor may he accept any orders to vote or speak in this or that sense. In tension with this is the endeavor of every party represented in Parliament to achieve a “closed voting behavior” in their parliamentary group (the so-called “ club coercion ”). It has often been alleged that parties in the 1950s and 1960s demanded blank resignations from MPs as a means of pressure, even though this is unconstitutional. However, there is no reliable evidence for this practice, apart from some undoubtedly politically motivated statements by several members of the Greens and the FPÖ. In any case, psychological peer pressure and the prospect of not appearing on the list of candidates in the next election play a major role here. However, the parliamentary groups must also tolerate the fact that MPs who cannot reconcile a certain decision with their conscience stay away from the vote in question. Likewise, a member of parliament who leaves his club (then non-attached as a so-called "wild member of parliament") can vote on the election proposal of the party from which he received the mandate, or even when changing to another club represented in parliament, from his party of origin not be forced to give up his mandate so that the party can regain the mandate. In this case, the number of mandates 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 amounts of the payments are determined in the sense of an income pyramid. The initial amount forms the beginning of this pyramid. This was set in 1997 at Schilling  100,000 (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 published in the Official Gazette of the Wiener Zeitung (Section 3 Para. 1 and 2 BezBegrBVG in conjunction with Section 2 Para. 2 BBezG). This resulted in an initial amount of EUR  9,228 on January 1, 2021 .

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

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

    However, the National Council can also decide to omit this increase for all or certain members of parliament (zero wage round). The payments are due 14 times a year (§ 2 Para. 1 and § 5 BBezG) and are to be paid out in advance at the beginning of each month (§ 7 Para. BBezG). The entitlement to remuneration begins on the day the employee is sworn in and ends on the day the employee leaves the position (§ 4 Para. 1 BBezG). In addition, there are special provisions for the reimbursement of expenses (§ 10 BBezG), for the reimbursement of business trips (§ 10 BBezG) and with regard to pension insurance (§§ 12ff BBezG). The bodies may not waive cash benefits under the BBezG (§ 16 BBezG). According to Section 25 (1) 4 lit.

    Employees & expenses

    Pursuant to Section 10 of the Federal Payments Act, Members of Parliament are entitled to monthly expenses in order to cover the expenses incurred in exercising their mandate. These include travel expenses, subsistence expenses or office expenses. The expenses are capped at a maximum of 12% of 98.96% of the monthly salary of a federal civil servant in the general administrative service, job group A1, salary level 13 per month. For the year 2018, this means a remuneration of around up to 550 euros per month.

    Depending on the Member's place of origin, the amount increases by six percent per hour of additional travel time. The duration of the journey will be determined by notification after the swearing-in of the representative.

    Every Member of Parliament is entitled to monthly remuneration for service and work contracts under the Parliamentary Employees Act (ParlMG). Staff hired in this way are referred to as Parliamentary Staff. 98.96 per cent of the monthly salary of a federal civil servant in the general administrative service, job group A1, salary level 13 plus the proportionate special payments and any one-off payments in public service are available for this. This was around 4,590 euros in 2018. Less the employer costs, a gross salary of around 3,600 euros per month was 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 employees include assistance in connection with

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

    Parliamentary employees can work for several MPs and, according to § 4 ParlMG, can also be combined to form working groups for up to seven MPs. It is also usual to split employee remuneration by the hour; often part of the remuneration is spent on an employee in the constituency of the member 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.


    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 deputies must belong to the same campaigning party or require the consent of the National Council to set up. A club must be composed of at least five MPs. (§ 7 GOG-NR) A currently unworked question is that of faction discipline or club discipline. The term “ club coercion ” was understood to mean that the members of a parliamentary group had to agree on a joint voting behavior on controversial issues. This requirement , which contradicts the free mandate of each member of parliament, has hardly been mentioned in domestic political discussions since the Bruno Kreisky era.

    club promotion

    The parties represented in the Austrian National Council, specifically their party clubs, receive so-called “club funding” every year. This amounted to a total of 15.3 million euros up to 2008 and was broken down according to the number of seats. In the first constituent meeting of the National Council after the 2008 National Council elections on October 28, 2008, a unanimous decision was taken to abolish the graduated club funding and to calculate it precisely for each member and to increase it by 15% or EUR 2.3 million.

    In the course of the financial crisis in 2008 and the economic turbulence that threatened as a result, and against the background of increasing disenchantment with politics after the failure of a “permanently fighting” government coalition in the Gusenbauer federal government , this significant increase caused a stir in the media and sometimes outraged comments. The National Council handled the increase "quietly and secretly" or "secretly and without any discussion". The increase in club funding was "bold", the "trust sold" and in a comment by others , the commentator asked whether the parliamentarians were a "caste of the untouchable".


    In the first session after the National Council election, the members of parliament elect the President of the National Council and two deputies (Second and Third Presidents) from among themselves, who take turns chairing the meetings. When it comes to electing its president, the National Council is not bound by the strength of a parliamentary group ; but it has been practiced realpolitik since 1920 that the President of the National Council is nominated by the club with the most mandates.

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

    On November 9th, 2017, in the first session of the XXVI. Legislative period, the Presidency was re-elected, with Norbert Hofer retaining his position, the previous President Bures now becoming Second President and Elisabeth Köstinger 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, Köstinger was replaced by Wolfgang Sobotka as the current President. Anneliese Kitzmüller succeeds Norbert Hofer.

    On October 23, 2019, the election of the Presidium for the XXVII. Legislative period during which Wolfgang Sobotka was elected as President of the National Council, Doris Bures (SPÖ) as Second President of the National Council and Norbert Hofer (FPÖ) as Third President of the National Council.

    Presidential Conference

    Together with the club officers, the presidents form the presidential conference. It is an advisory body and, in particular, makes proposals for the implementation of work plans, setting the agenda and the times of meetings of the National Council, assigning items to the committees and coordinating the times of their meetings, and regarding the management of international parliamentary relations.

    Certain items (such as issuing house rules) or decrees of the President (e.g. speaking order or speaking time limitations) require prior consultation of the Presidential Conference. (§ 8 GOG-NR)

    National Council election


    On the basis of the equal, direct, personal, free and secret suffrage of men and women who have reached the age of 16 on the day of the election (since 2007; previously the age of 18), the federal people will elect 183 members (deputies ) according to the principles of proportional representation ) elected (Art. 26 Para. 1 B-VG ). Eligible for election are those entitled to vote in the National Council who have Austrian citizenship on the reference date and have reached the age of 18 on the day of the election (Art. 26 Para. 4 B-VG). Electoral authorities, which are formed before each election (Art. 26a B-VG), are responsible for conducting and leading the National Council elections. The determination of the election result is divided into three investigation procedures. There is a four percent hurdle in the second and third investigations . If the result is certain, it must be announced immediately (§ 108 Para. 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). During the meeting, the deputies are sworn in (§ 4 Para. 1 GOG-NR ). After the swearing-in, among other things, the elections of the President of the National Council (§ 5 Para. 1 GOG-NR), the Main Committee (Art. 55 Para. 1 B-VG), the Standing Subcommittee (Art. 55 Para. 3 B-VG), the secretary (§ 5 Abs. 2 GOG-NR).

    National Council election results in the Second Republic

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

    year period mandates ÖVP SPÖ FPÖ Green LiF / NEOS BZÖ KPÖ Other
    > 1%
    1945 5 165 49.8 85 44.6 76 5.4 4 0.2 ÖVP – SPÖ – KPÖ 1
    1949 6 165 44.0 77 38.7 67 2 11.7 16 5.1 5 0.5 ÖVP – SPÖ
    1953 7 165 41.3 74 42.1 73 2 10.9 14 3 5.3 4 0.4 ÖVP – SPÖ
    1956 8th 165 46.0 82 43.0 74 6.5 6 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 6 4 0.4 DFP 3.3 0.0 ÖVP
    1970 12 165 44.7 78 48.4 81 5.5 6 1.0 0.4 SPÖ 5
    1971 13 183 43.1 80 50.0 93 5.5 10 1.4 0.0 SPÖ
    1975 14 183 42.9 80 50.4 93 5.4 10 1.2 0.0 SPÖ
    1979 15 183 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 17 183 41.3 77 43.1 80 9.7 18 4.8 8th 0.7 0.3 SPÖ – ÖVP
    1990 18 183 32:1 60 42.8 80 16.6 33 4.8 10 0.6 VGÖ 2.0 1.3 SPÖ – ÖVP
    1994 19 183 27.7 52 34.9 65 22.5 42 7.3 13 6.0 11 0.3 1.4 SPÖ – ÖVP
    1995 20 183 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 21 183 26.9 52 33.2 65 26.9 52 7.4 14 3.7 0.5 YOU 1.0 0.5 ÖVP – FPÖ
    2002 22 183 42.3 79 36.5 69 10.0 18 9.5 17 1.0 0.6 0.2 ÖVP – FPÖ 7
    2006 23 183 34.3 66 35.3 68 11.0 21 11.0 21 8th 8th 4.1 7 1.0 MATIN 2.8 0.5 SPÖ – ÖVP
    2008 24 183 26.0 51 29.3 57 17.5 34 10.4 20 2.1 10.7 21 0.8 FRITZ 1.8 1.5 SPÖ – ÖVP
    2013 25 183 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 26 183 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 26 8.1 15 0.0 0.7 NOW 1.9 0.6 ÖVP - GREEN
    year period mandates ÖVP SPÖ FPÖ Green LiF / NEOS BZÖ KPÖ Other
    > 1%
    table legend

    Results in italics : Party did not enter the National Council.

    1 to November 20, 1947
    3 Electoral community of the Austrian People's Opposition (VO)
    4 Communists and Left Socialists (KuL/KLS)
    5 minority government
    7from 17 April 2005 Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ)
    8thThe Liberal Forum did not run with 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 he was actually only on a loan mandate from the SPÖ for the Liberal Forum for the entire period of the National Council and that he was free from the SPÖ club.
    Line chart of the results of the National Council elections since 1945
    Results of the National Council elections since 1945

    NR composition in the 2019 legislative period–

    allocation 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
    ÖVP 61 71 71
    SPÖ 52 40 40
    FPÖ 50 31 30
    GREEN 26 26
    NEOS 10 15 15
    non-affiliated 4 1
    NOW A 6
    total 183 183 183
    A Until November 19, 2018, the club was called "Liste Pilz".

    Club size changes

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

    relationship with the President

    The Federal President convenes the National Council - in accordance with Art. 28 Para. 1 B-VG - every year for a regular meeting. Extraordinary meetings are convened and meetings closed by the Federal President upon 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 or by the decisions of the National Council itself.

    However, the head of state can dissolve the National Council at the suggestion of the federal government, but only once for the same reason. This happened so far only in 1930 by Wilhelm Miklas . However, a government appointed by the Federal President cannot stand against a majority in the National Council. The National Council also initiates the convening of the Federal Assembly, the impeachment or the scheduling of a referendum to dismiss the Federal President. So far, however, the National Council has never taken such a step. The negative result of a referendum to dismiss the Federal President is not only equivalent to 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 level of democratic legitimacy. They are directly elected by the federal people.


    In the National Council, the parliamentary groups nominate members for the committees that discuss motions and prepare resolutions for the plenary session according to the number of mandates they hold.

    There are constitutionally mandatory and voluntary committees that can be formed if necessary. In the XXII. Legislative period there were 36 committees. The permanent 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 judiciary committee, the social committee, the national defense committee or the various investigative committees .

    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 Committee on Internal Affairs
    • Judiciary Committee
    • Consumer Protection Committee
    • Culture Committee
    • National Defense Committee
    • Standing Subcommittee of the National Defense Committee
    • Agriculture and Forestry Committee
    • Human Rights Committee
    • Committee for Petitions and Citizens' Initiatives
    • Standing Subcommittee of the Court of Auditors Committee
    • Audit Committee
    • Sports Affairs Committee
    • Tourism Committee
    • Environment Committee
    • teaching committee
    • Incompatibility Committee
    • Constitutional Committee
    • Traffic Committee
    • People's Advocacy Committee
    • Committee on Economy and Industry
    • Science Committee
    • Standing joint committee within the meaning of Section 9 of the Financial Constitutional Law of 1948


    Since 1920, the National Council has met in the same meeting room in which the Austrian House of Lords had met in the Reichsrat until October 1918 . After the interior was destroyed by a bomb in 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 refurbishment of the worn-out interior planned for 2008, a general refurbishment, which is associated with high costs, was targeted after discussions and due to the poor structural condition of the parliament building. The decision to do so was only made after delays: in the summer of 2017, all parliamentary activities were moved to the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg as a temporary meeting room and to containers on Heldenplatz ; further offices are set up in the Hofburg. The federal eagle remains veiled in the National Council meeting room because its size and weight made it impossible to move.

    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. However, architectural renewal is limited by monument protection. There are no plans to faithfully restore the hall to the way it looked before it was destroyed in World War II.

    Since September 20, 2017, the National Council and the Federal Council have met 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.


    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, union or chamber employees [...] Only 41 work in the private sector or as freelancers."
    • The right to vote on party lists prevents most mandataries from defending their constitutionally free mandate, which is only obligated to their conscience, against the group discipline (the so-called “club coercion”) of their parliamentary group. Anyone who votes against their group several times will no longer stand for the next election. The Pilz list abolished this “club constraint” for its MPs when voting.
    • Due to the required club discipline, members of parliament from the government factions would not see themselves as legislative controllers of the executive, but as helpers of the government. The legislative proposals (government bills) adopted 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 a nod.
    • List suffrage 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 committed to the party, since it included them in the election proposal.
    • The Austrian Parliament makes far fewer resources available to its members than e.g. the German Bundestag or the United States Congress . The members of the National Council are therefore mostly dependent on the expertise of ministries and interest groups, which pursue their own agenda.
    • MPs often pass laws that they do not understand because they are written in expert language and not in commonly understood terms.

    See also

    more special:

    web links

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


    1. StGBl. No. 5/1918, p. 4
    2. Simon Rosner: The path 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: Retrieved September 10, 2018 .
    5. Beating affair: Westenthaler charged by bodyguard. In: February 20, 2008, retrieved December 31, 2017 .
    6. Criticism of new immunity rules. In: oe1 . ORF .at, autumn 2011, retrieved on September 14, 2011.
    7. 126th Session NR XVIII. GP - Stenographic Protocol. In: Retrieved 28 June 2021 .
    8. 5th Session NR XVIII. GP - Stenographic Protocol. In: Retrieved 28 June 2021 .
    9. Federal Council - 641st session - stenographic minutes. In: Retrieved 28 June 2021 .
    10. 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 .
    11. Politician salaries in Austria 2021 - income at federal and state level. Retrieved December 2, 2021 .
    12. Last on December 12, 2018, 4th Federal Act amending the Federal Emoluments Act. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
    13. Parties increase their club funding by 15 percent. In: Die Presse , October 29, 2008, retrieved November 3, 2008.
    14. Increased club funding: parties treat themselves to more money. In: Kleine Zeitung , October 29, 2008, retrieved November 3, 2008.
    15. a b c Andrea Heigl: Club funding: trust sold. In: Der Standard , October 29, 2008, retrieved November 3, 2008.
    16. Patrick Hartweg: Club promotion: A 'caste of the untouchable'? Comment by others in: Der Standard , print edition October 31, 2008, p. 46.
    17. ^ MPs elected National Council Presidency on from October 23, 2019, retrieved on October 24, 2019.
    19. Herbert Lackner: Democracy without staff. In: profil , no. 14, April 4, 2011, p. 22.
    20. Courier article of October 29, 2017