Social Democratic Party of Austria

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Social Democratic Party of Austria
Logo of the SPÖ
party leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner
Pamela Rendi-Wagner
vice-chairman Doris Bures
Birgit Gerstorfer
Eva Maria Holzleitner
Peter Kaiser
Michael Ludwig
Franz Schnabl
club chairwoman Pamela Rendi-Wagner
Federal Managing Director Christian German
founding December 30, 1888 – January 1, 1889
place of incorporation Hainfeld (Lower Austria)
Headquarters 1st district of Vienna , Löwelstrasse 18
National Council mandates
Federal Council mandates
seats in state legislatures
Government grants 55.7 million euros (2018)
number of members 157,855 (February 2020)
party structure 9 country organizations
114 district organizations
3589 local sections
minimum age 16
alignment social democracy
International connections Socialist International , Progressive Alliance
Mandates in the European Parliament
European party Party of European Socialists (PES)
EP club S&D
color Red

The Social Democratic Party of Austria ( SPÖ ) is one of the most traditional existing parties in Austria and the most popular grouping on the political left in the country. Founded in 1889 in Hainfeld , Lower Austria as the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP), it was called the Social Democratic Workers' Party of German Austria (SDAP) from 1918 to 1934 . It was banned during Austrofascism and the Nazi dictatorship . From 1945 to 1991 the party name was the Austrian Socialist Party. In June 1945, the SPÖ moved into its party headquarters at Löwelstraße 18 in the first district of Vienna, which is why Löwelstraße is usually used in a figurative sense for the federal party in relation to the SPÖ.

The positions represented by the SPÖ are written down in party programmes . The current basic program was adopted in 2018.

Since 1945, the SPÖ has provided the chancellor in 16 of the 32 federal governments ; six of the nine Federal Presidents of the Second Republic were SPÖ members or were supported by the party when they first took office (most recently Heinz Fischer 2004). Furthermore, she is currently (2021) providing three of the nine provincial governors ( Vienna , Burgenland and Carinthia ). After losing the National Council elections in 2017, she went into opposition within the federal government.

Content profile

In its basic program, adopted at the 1998 party conference, the SPÖ committed itself to social democracy , to the values ​​of freedom, equality, justice, solidarity and full employment. At the same time, however, the need for political liberalization, modernization and change is also addressed.

foreign and European policy

The SPÖ sees European unification as a crucial peace project to solve conflicts between states and ethnic groups. Irrespective of the programme, SPÖ leader Werner Faymann announced referendums on future EU treaties in his legendary letter to the Kronen Zeitung in 2008.

education policy

Education is seen as a basic social right in the SPÖ program. Accordingly, the SPÖ stands up for equal opportunities , one of the central demands is the common school for 6 to 14 year olds as a model of the comprehensive school. Another concern is the nationwide expansion of affordable and needs-based childcare and the reduction of compulsory schooling to the 5th year of life. In the field of studies, the SPÖ demands free access to Austrian universities, for example in 2008 the tuition fees introduced a few years earlier were abolished. The party is also committed to securing democratic rights of co-determination in the ÖH .

social policy

Equality for women and the toleration of ethnic minorities are seen as important. The SPÖ wants to promote intercultural dialogue and advocates the integration of immigrants . In the fight against lack of freedom and discrimination , she campaigns against terror, torture and the death penalty . The 2008 election program also takes up the issue of homosexuality and thus advocates social equality for same-sex couples.

Domestic and Security Policy

The SPÖ advocates the introduction of a professional army and also campaigned for it in the 2013 referendum on compulsory military service . The SPÖ rejects joining a military alliance and a joint European army .

social and economic policy

In accordance with the principles of social democracy, the goal of the SPÖ is a society in which all class antagonisms have been overcome. In the opinion of the SPÖ, any form of work between men and women should be distributed fairly. The SPÖ calls full employment the goal. She strives for the accessibility of public facilities for everyone, regardless of social status. She also calls for what she believes to be fair working conditions and the right of co-determination for employees in companies as the basis for social and economic development. Furthermore, she advocates a tax system that allows a fair distribution of income and wealth . The SPÖ sees the state as the carrier of an active economic policy. She rejects the privatization policy pursued by SPÖ-led governments in the early 1990s. In the election campaign for the National Council in 2008, the central demands in the area of ​​economic and social policy were the introduction of a needs-based minimum income and the capital gains tax .


Until 1934: Social Democratic Labor Party

Emergence in monarchy and multinational state

The Austrian labor movement is not a child of the 1848 revolution . Workers also stood on the barricades in Vienna, but their actions were not driven by class consciousness, but by the desire to wrest more rights for all citizens from the absolutist regime. After the defeat of the revolution every movement of the working class in Austria-Hungary was suppressed for decades. The re-establishment of an Austrian workers' movement then arose a generation later from 1867 as a subsidiary of the Social Democracy in Germany , whose ideological and organizational leadership role was based on the advance of industrialization in Saxony.

This is where the impetus for founding the first workers' education associations came from , which – legalized with the December constitution of 1867 – contributed significantly to awakening the political awareness of the Austrian working class. The work of the functionaries from the very beginning was based on the ideas of Ferdinand Lassalle and his General German Workers' Association (ADAV). Lassalle died just one year after the founding of the ADAV, which was then increasingly burdened by factional fights that led to splits. The ADAV merged in 1875 at the Gotha party conference with one of these splits, the (German) Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) to form the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (SAPD). The Gotha program was a compromise between the Marxist program of the SDAP decided in Eisenach in Thuringia in 1869 and the more moderate ideas of the ADAV. The commitment to a revolutionary transformation of the existing order was adopted by the Austrian activists of the labor movement, which, as in Germany, again led to repression and splits into moderate and anarchist groups.

The plan to found a unified Austrian social democratic party came about in 1874 at a meeting of delegates from trade union workers' associations in Neudörfl , then in Hungary and now in Burgenland . In the years that followed, this project could not be realized due to differences between moderate and anarchist groups. The founding of the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) therefore only took place at the turn of the year 1888/1889 at the party conference from December 30, 1888 to January 1, 1889 in Hainfeld , Lower Austria , after Victor Adler , an extremely wealthy heir through his fortune, had succeeded that he invested in the press to unite the very differently aligned groups across the language borders of the Cisleithanian half of the empire.

The party saw itself as representing the workers' movement "of all the kingdoms and countries represented in the Reichsrat", i.e. Cisleithania . This colloquial term (“land this side of the Leitha ”) came about after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 because the crown lands of Bohemia and Moravia had rejected “Austria” as discriminatory. In order to be accepted by Bohemian comrades as well, the workers' party in 1888 could not give itself a name with "Austria". The naming was also an expression of the connection with the German Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) of the same name before it merged with the ADAV. The Marxist Eisenach program of 1869, which was based on the Communist Manifesto , was also taken from her .

1889–1918: Victor Adler's "kk" social democracy

Victor Adler, party founder and chairman until 1918

Victor Adler committed the party to a moderate course in which the Communist Manifesto was present not as a guide but as a vision for the future. The fight for the right to vote was set as the first intermediate goal on this path to the future. At the same time, the founding of institutions for the education and improvement of the social situation of the working class was promoted, which strengthened their cohesion and led to increasing membership numbers, especially in Vienna , Bohemia and Moravia , but also in the industrialized areas of Styria, Upper and Lower Austria. Until his death, Victor Adler remained more connected to the reformist goals of the General German Workers' Association and thus to the statist teachings of Lassalle than to those of Karl Marx . The unification party conference in Hainfeld was one of the steps taken by Victor Adler to transform social democracy into a party loyal to the state and the emperor and thus capable of winning a majority.

Through his articles and slogans in the Arbeiter-Zeitung , Victor Adler also initiated May Day celebrations in the sense of an international workers' holiday in the spirit of non-violence. On May 1, 1890, the social democrats (especially the Viennese workers) organized the largest rally in the Vienna Prater with more than 100,000 participants that had ever been seen in the city up to that point. Even Emperor Franz Joseph I took the opportunity to drive through the Prater with his then 22-year-old daughter Marie Valerie , where he was greeted in a friendly manner by “red walkers” and repeatedly thanked them. While the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois press were already spreading panic and predicting violence, unrest and destruction, the socialist May Day celebrations were the first resounding, peaceful success of the Austrian working class.

The 1897 Wimberg party congress was marked by nationality conflicts in Old Austria , as a result of which national sections were formed in the party (Germans, Czechs, Poles, Italians, Ruthenians and South Slavs), which increasingly appeared as independent parties.

With the implementation of universal male suffrage in 1907, Adler achieved a historic compromise between the crown, bureaucracy and workers. On this basis, the SDAP was able to multiply its number of seats in the 1907 elections. Contrary to the agitation of Karl Kautsky and the revolutionary part of the Left, Victor Adler now particularly insisted that the new Social Democratic deputies, after the election, in which they became the second-strongest parliamentary group, just behind the Christian Socialists , made a pilgrimage to the Hofburg , as had been the custom for many years , to to hear the emperor's speech from the throne. The bourgeois press, which always tried to push social democracy into the revolutionary anti- Habsburg unrest and minority corner, even painted the specter of a “socialist monarchy” on the wall. In 1911, the Social Democratic faction finally became the strongest faction in the Reichsrat .

However, since the Imperial and Royal Prime Minister needed the trust of the monarch and not that of the Reichsrat, this faction strength by no means meant a government under Social Democratic leadership. The joy about the electoral law reform and electoral successes was clouded by the intensifying nationality quarrels in their own ranks. The Czechs were the first ethnic group to split from the SDAP in 1912; by the beginning of the war, the other non-German-speaking nationalities had also left the party and formed their own factions.

Adler now gave the material betterment of the working class as the next goal, but this could no longer be implemented. Despite its commitment to the peace goals of the Second International , the SDAP of Austria supported Austria-Hungary 's war policy against Serbia and Tsarist Russia in the early years of World War I.

At first there was no significant opposition in the party against this truce policy , as advocated by Karl Renner , among others, who also had hopes for the post of Imperial and Royal Prime Minister. Only a small group around Friedrich Adler , the son of party chairman Viktor Adler, could not accept this course. On October 21, 1916, one month before the death of Franz Joseph I, Friedrich Adler shot the Imperial and Royal Prime Minister Count Karl Stürgkh , who had ruled without a parliament since March 1914 due to the obstructionism of the nationalities. (Parliament was only convened again by the new emperor, Charles I , in 1917.) The party distanced itself from this act and only distanced itself from the state leadership at the party congress in 1917, not without the administration even when the hunger strikes were contained in winter 1917 /18 to support. Under the impression of the Russian October Revolution and the foreseeable collapse of the monarchy, the party granted Otto Bauer , a pronounced Marxist, the post of deputy party chairman and chief ideologist in 1918.

Karl Renner and Victor Adler , as the party's connecting representatives, offered the peoples of Old Austria to remain in the existing state federation until the very end, in order to be able to better realize the common social-democratic future goals. In addition, there were still considerations in October 1918 that Karl Renner kk Prime Minister.

1892–1909 Emergence and assertion of a social democratic women's movement

Although the Hainfeld program of 1889 condemned gender discrimination, not a single woman took part in the Hainfeld party congress, and the delegate Anna Altmann from Pöltzental was rejected in favor of a male candidate. In the following year, therefore, a separate "workers' educational association" was founded in Vienna, supposedly apolitical, in order to circumvent association legislation that prohibited women from participating in political associations. Repressive laws and reservations by social-democratic men were two hurdles that the social-democratic women's movement struggled against. Nevertheless, it grew rapidly, also with the help of the "Arbeiterinnen-Zeitung" published from 1892 under editor Adelheid Popp . After a boycott of the SDAP party congresses in 1896 and 1897, a separate Reich Women's Conference in 1898 and the establishment of separate women's unions from 1902, the social democratic women's movement was able to fight for its place in the party integrated into the SDAP as equivalent.

1918–1920: Social Democracy in government

Karl Renner 1905 as Imperial and Royal Parliament official; In 1918 he was elected Chancellor of German Austria

When the non-German-speaking nationalities withdrew from the monarchy shortly before the end of the war, the German-Austrian Social Democrats were the first to present a clear program to the people and strive for a parliamentary republic . In October 1918, under the chairmanship of Karl Seitz , the Provisional National Assembly , consisting of the German Reichsrat deputies from Old Austria elected in 1911, elected Karl Renner as State Chancellor of German Austria , as the country was initially called; the form of government remained open. After the other parties had also decided to join the German-speaking parts of the Danube monarchy to the now republican German Reich, and therefore strive for a republic, and Emperor Karl I could be persuaded to "renounce any share in state affairs" , on 12 November 1918 the new state declared a republic. In contrast to Victor Adler's previous balancing and unifying party line, the new party attitude shaped by Otto Bauer and Karl Renner was strictly republican, anti-Habsburg and revolutionary. With the associated policy against the Church and the old Austria, however, the Social Democrats lost parts of their petty-bourgeois electorate and thus increasingly their previous majorities.

Like the other parties represented in the National Council, Austria's SDAP advocated union with Germany after the Treaty of Saint-Germain , which banned Austria from using "German" in its name. Greater power was expected for the socialist revolution in a large state . The wish to join was canceled at the party congress in 1933, after the National Socialists had seized power in the German Reich.

From 1918 to 1920 the Social Democrats – as the party with the most votes in the 1919 elections to the constituent National Assembly – formed a grand coalition with the Christian Socials. At that time, in addition to the constitution, significant social improvements were passed ( eight-hour day , foundation of the Chamber of Labor as a legal interest group, works council law , etc.). Karl Seitz (party chairman), Otto Bauer (deputy party chairman) and Karl Renner as state chancellor succeeded in implementing far-reaching social reforms.

Otto Bauer's attempt, in the course of his Austro -Marxism with integral socialism, to bring about a reunification of the reformist Second International with the communist III. Reaching international ones, however, failed. The Austrian social-democracy, which sought to soothe the rival left-wing ideologies, was jokingly referred to as the Two and a Half International .

Likewise, the connection to the German Reich that the SDAP was aiming for could not be achieved. An associated merger with the later Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) , an excellently organized party, would have been extremely attractive from an Austrian point of view. While Germany was highly industrialized and therefore had a large number of workers, Austria was still largely agricultural at that time. Since the peasants traditionally voted Christian-Social, the political basis for social democracy in the Austrian population was correspondingly smaller.

1920–1934: From opposition to civil war

After the Christian Socials had won the National Council elections in 1920, Otto Bauer led the party into the opposition in federal politics. It remained there until it was banned in 1934. In the Nationalrat elections of 1930 , the last democratic election of the interwar period, it was once again the party with the most votes and seats, but the Christian Social Party continued to form the government together with the Greater German People's Party and the Landbund . An offer made by the Christian Socialists in 1932 to form a grand coalition was rejected; a decision decades later proved to be wrong. From the point of view of the Social Democrats of the Second Republic, Otto Bauer's inflexible policy was generally classified as not worthy of imitation.

Especially in Vienna, where it ruled with a two-thirds majority under mayors Jakob Reumann and Karl Seitz , and to a lesser extent in the industrial regions of Styria and Upper Austria, social democracy developed an internationally presentable political counter-model to the conservative federal government. The “ Red Vienna ” became internationally known , above all through social housing . Also noteworthy is the cultural openness of the social democracy of the time, which attracted many intellectuals. (Similar things happened on a smaller scale in the industrial regions of Styria.)

As a reaction to the organization of fascist home guards, the " Republican Protection League " was founded in 1923/1924 as a paramilitary organization of the SDAP. The Linz program of 1926, significantly influenced by Otto Bauer, widened the gap between "red" and "black": the "dictatorship of the proletariat" - which, however, was to be achieved in a democratic way ("democracy the way, socialism the goal") – was often cited by political opponents to scare the “Reds” or the “Bolsheviks”.

In 1927 a Schutzbund march had been shot at in Schattendorf , Burgenland; an invalid and a child were killed. According to an extremely critical article in the Arbeiter-Zeitung , the acquittal of the riflemen ( Schattendorf verdict ) led to a demonstration in front of the Palace of Justice on July 15, 1927 , which, despite attempts by leading Social Democrats to appease them, culminated in violence by radical elements. The Palace of Justice was set on fire . The police shot dozens of demonstrators and lost four men themselves. The extremely brutal police operation was also heavily criticized by the non-Social Democrat Karl Kraus ; he publicly demanded the resignation of police chief Johann Schober . The government under Prelate Ignaz Seipel defended the police operation and described the event as a “ July revolt ”; it was a shock to the whole country.

Even the social democrats had no remedy against the world economic crisis that began in 1929. As a result, radical ideologies (National Socialism, Communism), which until then had had only a few followers, were able to gain a stronger foothold in the working class from the early 1930s.

After March 4, 1933, the Christian -Socialist Dollfuss government used what it called parliament's self- elimination to continue to govern in an authoritarian manner with emergency decrees. Political rights were successively restricted, including the traditional May Day march of the Social Democrats on the Ringstrasse on May 1, 1933, which was banned. The Social Democrats reacted paralyzed: There was no clear strategy for countering Dollfuss' anti-democratic tendencies.

When Dollfuss wanted to disarm the now banned paramilitary Schutzbund in Upper Austria, an armed conflict broke out in Linz on February 12, 1934, which led to the February uprising by parts of the SDAP. On the same day Mayor Karl Seitz in Vienna was removed from the city hall by the police and the Social Democratic Party was banned. The uprising was suppressed by the gendarmerie, police, army and home guards by February 14.

By no means all of Austrian Social Democracy took part in the February fighting; she wasn't prepared for this. The uprising did not come from the party headquarters either, they were taken by surprise. The armed clashes between the Republican Protection League on the one hand and the police and army on the other hand only took place selectively. In other parts of the city and country you saw nothing of it. Therefore, fighting the "February Uprising" was not a big problem for the government.

Election Results 1919–1930

Results (1919–1930)

Known members of the SDAP

Otto Bauer, the party's chief ideologue as an Austro-Marxist, was labeled a Bolshevik by opponents

1934-1945: Social Democracy in the underground

1934-1938: Party work in the “Corporate State”

After the defeat of the "insurgents" (government vocabulary) or the "fighters for democracy" (social democratic interpretation shared by many observers; see the novel The Lost City by the American John Gunther), the corporate state was established. Today's conservatives concede that it was a dictatorship, the social democrats speak of Austro-fascism . This term was already used at the time – albeit not publicly – by Federal President Wilhelm Miklas .

Otto Bauer and the head of the Schutzbund, Julius Deutsch, were able to flee and set up the foreign office of the Austrian Social Democrats (ALÖS) in Brno. From there they supported the Revolutionary Socialists (RS), which were secretly founded as the successor organization to the banned SDAP and were led by Joseph Buttinger from 1935 to 1938 . At the end of March 1938, the RS leadership team, which had emigrated from Austria, merged with Otto Bauer's foreign office to form the Austrian Socialists' Representation Abroad (AVOES), whose officials worked first in Paris and then in New York and London. It was dissolved in 1942 and continued (informally) as the " Austrian Labor Committee " (ALC).

1938-1945: Social Democrats in the "Third Reich"

Prominent Social Democrats who remained in Austria, such as Karl Renner , former party leader Karl Seitz and Adolf Schärf , kept a low profile for their own protection. Immediately after the " Anschluss " in March 1938, a statement by Renner was published in the Wiener Tagblatt , in which he happily welcomed the great historical achievement of the reunification of the German nation . As he wrote after the war, he, who on the other hand had already advocated a merger in 1918, had written this text after consultations with party friends, because a contrary attitude would have endangered underground work and required unnecessary sacrifices.

As a result of the directive of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Socialists in March 1938 to stop all illegal activities for three months for reasons of precaution, the arrest of many socialists after the "annexation" and the forced flight of many Jewish functionaries, the organizational decline of the social-democratic movement took place. Failure to comply with ordered conspiratorial caution and the infiltration of Gestapo informants resulted in the investigation, arrest and conviction of many social democratic activists. The rigorous measures of persecution and the severing of ties to exile groups soon led to the disintegration of the increasingly isolated resistance groups. Instead of permanent resistance organizations, loose social-democratic circles of friends were formed, which also came into contact with representatives of resistance movements with different political orientations. This is how Karl Seitz and Adolf Schärf managed to get in touch with the resistance group around Chaplain Heinrich Maier .

When Schärf was contacted by German Social Democrats in 1943 about working together "after Hitler", he spontaneously replied, according to Friedrich Heer , "The Anschluss is dead. Love for Germany has been driven out of the Austrians". Karl Seitz was arrested by the Nazi authorities after the July 20, 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler.

1945-1991: Austrian Socialist Party

Results in National Council elections (1945–2019)

1945–1966: In coalition with the People's Party

Forward building in Vienna, 1910-1934 party headquarters, today the place of party historical research
SPÖ headquarters (since June 7, 1945) at Löwelstraße 18 in the 1st district of Vienna

While the fighting in the greater Vienna area was still ongoing ( Vienna Operation 1945 ) and the Red Army had only just liberated Vienna from Nazi rule, in mid-April 1945, three weeks before the end of World War II in Europe and the liberation of all of Austria, the Socialist Party of Austria (Social Democrats and Revolutionary Socialists) (SPÖ) founded. Karl Seitz, party chairman until February 12, 1934 and therefore also formal chairman in 1945, was only able to return to Vienna from occupied Germany on June 23, 1945.

On April 12, 1945, the first meeting of leading social democrats took place in the badly damaged Vienna City Hall. (It was only much later that contact was made with those Social Democrats who had reestablished the party's state organizations in the more distant federal states.) On April 14, a provisional party executive was appointed in the Red Salon of the town hall. Adolf Schärf became provisional chairman ; only at the party congress on December 14/15, 1945 was he elected party chairman; Seitz now took over the honorary chairmanship of the party.

Karl Renner , who had lived in a house in Gloggnitz (70 km south of Vienna) since 1938, "in April 1945 began negotiations with the command of the advancing Soviet army, which led to the formation of a government accepted by the occupying power". To this end, Renner wrote a personal letter to Stalin , who could remember the “old fox” (as he is said to have called him) as a politician before the Nazi era.

On April 27, 1945 – the Second World War was not yet over – the “board of the Christian Social People’s Party, now the Austrian People’s Party ”, the “ Austrian Communist Party ” and the “board of the Austrian Social Democracy, now the Austrian Socialist Party (Social Democrats and Revolutionary Socialists)” to the declaration of independence (State Law Gazette No. 1 / 1945), with which “the democratic Republic of Austria … was restored” and the “Annexation forced on the Austrian people in 1938” was declared “null and void”. Karl Renner , who became state chancellor of the “provisional state government” set up jointly by the three parties on the same day , and party chairman Adolf Schärf signed for the SPÖ . The fate of Jewish Austrians and the involvement of Austrians in Nazi crimes were not mentioned in the statement.

The provisional government "by the grace of the Red Army" met with enormous distrust from the occupying powers Great Britain, France and the USA. Renner was thought to be a puppet of Stalin. However, the provisional provincial governors of the western federal states, under the leadership of the later Foreign Minister Karl Gruber , were ready very early on to work together with Renner in the interests of an undivided Austria and also did valuable persuasion with the Allies in this regard, without which the all-Austrian elections in 1945 would not have been possible.

The question of the extent to which the socialists should work together with the communists was not without controversy in the SPÖ in the summer of 1945, as Popular Front governments had come into being in neighboring countries. Schärf wrote about this in 1950: “Many of those who came together in the Socialist Party or came together again had a socialist unity party in mind.” The communists expected to be about as strong as the SPÖ in the first elections and therefore hit close ones cooperation before. On the other hand, they denied that the SPÖ had the right to demand the return of SDAP property confiscated by Dollfuss in 1934, since "a large number of former social democratic members are now in the ranks of the Communist Party" and they are also entitled to it. In the contact committees between the two parties demanded by the Communists, the SPÖ representatives only dealt with unimportant topics and demanded that important questions be discussed exclusively in the Provisional State Government.

After the first National Council elections of the Second Republic on November 25, 1945 , which brought the ÖVP an absolute majority and the KPÖ very disappointing results, the SPÖ member Karl Renner became the first Federal President on December 20, 1945 by the Federal Assembly (National Council and Federal Council). elected to the Second Republic . The SPÖ represented a moderate, pragmatic course and was involved in the Figl I concentration government, which was in office until the resignation of the only communist minister, Karl Altmann , in 1947, and subsequently in several “grand coalitions” among ÖVP federal chancellors. Among other things, it was able to bring about the nationalization of many companies (above all those that had previously been “ German property ”) and, moreover, an improvement in the situation of the workforce. The nationalization gave rise to the so-called "Kingdom of Waldbrunner ", the sphere of influence of the SPÖ Minister for Transport and Nationalized Enterprises.

Erwin Scharf , one of the SPÖ central secretaries, continued to support cooperation with the communists even after the 1945 election result, which was very modest for the KPÖ; he was expelled from the SPÖ in 1948 and subsequently founded the short-lived small party of Left Socialists .

Due to electoral considerations, the SPÖ played a decisive role in founding the VdU (predecessor organization of the FPÖ ). It was hoped that the candidacy of the VdU would weaken the ÖVP . In this function, the SPÖ Minister of the Interior Helmer was also head of the electoral and association authorities and thus responsible for the approval of new parties and actively supported the founding of the VdU. In the National Council elections of 1949 , in which former National Socialists with fewer burdens were eligible to vote again for the first time, the SPÖ had hundreds of thousands of leaflets printed with a "question of conscience to every former National Socialist", which were used to solicit former National Socialists ("Who has forgotten that we are national and socialist were, will go to the ÖVP today."). In this election, the ÖVP fueled voters' fear of the "red cat" ("don't buy a cat in a poke").

In 1950, communists organized the "October strikes" against the fourth wage and price agreement agreed by the government with the social partners . Their aim was to install a pro-communist government. The occupying troops of the Soviet Union only intervened passively: they prevented the police from taking immediate action against systematic traffic obstructions and other attacks, but did not actively side with the strikers themselves. The socialist trade unionist Franz Olah then successfully mobilized the construction workers' union against the communists and ended the strikes. In the political polemic, the non-violent intervention of the construction workers was welcomed as a defense against a communist coup attempt.

In 1955, the SPÖ, together with the ÖVP, achieved the state treaty and the withdrawal of the occupation troops; the state treaty is remembered above all with the then ÖVP foreign minister Leopold Figl . Adolf Schärf acted as vice chancellor and party chairman from 1945 to 1957 and Bruno Pittermann from 1957 to 1966/1967 (advertising slogan “Pittermann for everyone, everyone for Pittermann”). After Karl Renner, the SPÖ provided three more Social Democratic Federal Presidents: Theodor Körner , 1951-1957, Adolf Schärf, 1957-1965, and Franz Jonas , 1965-1974.

In 1964, the Olah affair rocked the party. In 1959 and 1960, the top socialist politician Franz Olah (probably not without the knowledge of some officials) pursued media policy outside of the party bodies by using union funds to support the non-party Viennese daily newspapers Kronen Zeitung and Express . In 1964, a larger payment to the FPÖ became known, with which Olah probably wanted to build a possible alternative coalition partner. At the same time, Olah, appointed Minister of the Interior in 1963, had access to the state police's secret files.

Despite violent demonstrations of sympathy in front of the party headquarters, Olah, whose sense of power had become uncanny for other SPÖ top officials, was expelled from the SPÖ in 1964, mainly with the help of Justice Minister Christian Broda . Olah was later convicted of embezzling union funds; the SPÖ only reconciled with him after the year 2000.

1966–1970: SPÖ in opposition

From 1966 to 1970 the SPÖ was in opposition. Party leader Pittermann did not seem attractive enough to many Social Democrats for the media age to liberate the party from its unfamiliar opposition role. After intensive discussions, Bruno Kreisky , an undisputed foreign politician but without a solid power base within the party, was elected the new party leader against the will of the leading Viennese Social Democrats. In the 1970 National Council elections , he also ran in Lower Austria. Kreisky was supposed to bring together the radicals and moderates of the split party in the style of a kuk social democrat.

Kreisky soon proved to be a media star who, with his slow, anecdotal way of speaking, was clearly superior to the serious but comparatively colorless Salzburg ÖVP Chancellor Josef Klaus as opposition leader. When comparing the two top politicians, Kreisky's cosmopolitanism (acquired as a diplomat and foreign minister) also had a positive impact. The SPÖ, with 1000 experts among other things , campaigned for a more modern Austria in the election campaign: Take the future into your own hands, we invite you , was sung on a promotional record. With the slogan A real Austrian for Klaus, the ÖVP indirectly referred to Kreisky's Jewish roots and his time in emigration.

1970–1986: The Kreisky Era and Its Afterlife

Bruno Kreisky (1983)
Cabinet Kreisky I
Bruno Kreisky on a visit to the USA in February 1983
Emblem from 1978 to the early 1980s
May badge from 1984

In 1970 Bruno Kreisky - the SPÖ had reached the relative majority (47.6%) - formed a minority government with the support of the FPÖ under its chairman Friedrich Peter . (This first Kreisky government included five former National Socialists, who were soon publicly criticized; Minister of Agriculture Hans Öllinger from Carinthia, a former SS man, had to resign.) With the slogan “Let Kreisky and his team work!” the SPÖ finally won the In the 1971 new elections, they had an absolute majority of votes and mandates and once again formed a one -party SPÖ government . The ÖVP, disoriented in its new opposition role, had little to counter Kreisky's popularity with the hitherto relatively unknown party chairman Karl Schleinzer at the helm.

In the National Council elections of 1975 and 1979 , Kreisky also won an absolute majority for the SPÖ. Both times, after Schleinzer's death in July 1975, the new ÖVP candidate for chancellor, Josef Taus , clearly lost out. In 1979, the SPÖ achieved the clearest absolute majority since 1945 with an election result of 51% and 95 of 183 seats in the National Council.

The government of the SPÖ, headed by Bruno Kreisky (1970-1983), was characterized by far-reaching social and socio-political reforms. During this time, for example, the mother-child pass, obstetrics and parental leave benefits were introduced. Despite massive resistance from conservative political and social forces, Kreisky's government also pushed through the deadline solution with regard to the termination of pregnancies. Austrian criminal law was also massively reformed under Justice Minister Christian Broda . In the education system, the most notable reforms were the democratization of the universities and the abolition of tuition fees. In terms of foreign policy, Kreisky showed initiative, especially in the Middle East , which brought Austria an international reputation that had hardly been seen before .

In economic policy , Kreisky's chancellorship was characterized above all by the low unemployment rate , which in the 1970s for the most part came close to full employment . In general, the economic policy of the Kreisky era (especially after 1974) can be described as Austrokeynesianism , a term coined by the economic researcher Hans Seidel . The budget policy of the Kreisky government was characterized, among other things, by Finance Minister Hannes Androsch 's hard currency course , which relied on a stable schilling .

According to general opinion, an open secret of Kreisky's success throughout the 1970s was the reconciliation of Austrian social democracy with the Roman Catholic Church. The good relationship between SPÖ chairman Kreisky and then Cardinal Franz König should be mentioned in this regard. In 1974, the SPÖ candidate, Foreign Minister Rudolf Kirchschläger , a practicing Catholic, won the election for Federal President . In 1980, Kirchschläger, who was extremely popular with the population, was supported by both the SPÖ and the leading opposition party ÖVP in his renewed candidacy, which brought him a record result of almost 80% in an Austrian federal presidential election.

For the SPÖ, the controversy between Kreisky and Finance Minister Hannes Androsch , who was described by the media as one of the “crown princes” of the “Sun King” and who was the “youngest finance minister of all time” at the age of 32 in 1970, turned out to be dramatic. Androsch would have liked to nominate Kreisky as Federal President in 1974 in order to take over the chancellorship himself; However, "the old man" refused to switch to the largely powerless position of head of state. In return, Kreisky claimed not to have known that, in addition to his ministerial activities, Androsch is still formally the owner of a tax consultancy firm that counts public clients among its clients. Kreisky described this as incompatible with Androsch's ministerial office. In 1981 Androsch had to switch to the position of general director of a nationalized bank. Androsch, just as media-savvy as the Chancellor, retained a sizeable circle of friends in the party who were now critical of the Chancellor. Androsch was later convicted of tax evasion.

During the time of the sole government, the SPÖ changed from a workers' party to a left-wing people's party , in whose "circle of atmosphere" adventurers triggered various affairs, including the AKH scandal uncovered in 1980 about the construction of Austria's largest hospital.

When the SPÖ failed to achieve an absolute majority in 1983, Kreisky arranged a coalition with the FPÖ , headed by Fred Sinowatz as Federal Chancellor.

Since 1991: Social Democratic Party of Austria

European flag logo (1990s)

1986-1999: Grand coalitions under SPÖ leadership

Franz Vranitzky, SPÖ Federal Chancellor 1986-1997

After Sinowatz resigned as Federal Chancellor in the summer of 1986, his successor Franz Vranitzky dissolved the coalition with the FPÖ after Jörg Haider was elected FPÖ chairman in September 1986. Vranitzky then formed a grand coalition with the ÖVP , which existed from 1997 under his successor Viktor Klima until 1999 (see federal governments Vranitzky II to Vranitzky V ). For the SPÖ (as well as for the People's Party), however, these years were also overshadowed by the meteoric rise of the FPÖ under Jörg Haider, which in 2000 also led to the temporary end of government responsibility by the SPÖ. The SPÖ top politicians Leopold Gratz and Karl Blecha had to resign in 1989 because of their involvement in the Lucona affair ( Udo Proksch 's deadly insurance fraud ) and the Noricum scandal (illegal arms exports by a state-owned company).

Under Vranitzky's chairmanship, the party was renamed the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) at the federal party conference in Linz in 1991 . This corresponded to Western European usages; the historic compromise of 1945 was no longer up to date.

In 1994 Austria decided in the course of a constitutionally required referendum to join the European Union (EU), which was regarded as a great success for the coalition under Chancellor and SPÖ leader Vranitzky. Vranitzky had succeeded in making the advantages of the EU clear to the SPÖ, which had been critical of the EEC for a long time. The danger to Austrian neutrality seen by SPÖ officials was covered up with the slogan "We are entering the EU as a neutral state". It went unsaid that as an EU member you cannot be neutral towards other EU members.

Viktor Klima, SPÖ Federal Chancellor 1997-2000

In 1997, due to health problems, Vranitzky handed over the duties to his finance minister , the new head of government, Viktor Klima ; he undertook a comprehensive government reshuffle. With the exception of the elections to the EU Parliament and the Salzburg state elections (both in 1999), Klima's time as chancellor was almost permanently characterized by electoral defeats and poor poll numbers.

2000-2006: In the federal government in the opposition - successful in state politics

Logo of the SPÖ with the Austrian flag, which can be replaced by the flag of a federal state

In the spring of 2000, the SPÖ had to go into opposition due to the coalition agreement between the ÖVP and the FPÖ, although it remained the party with the most votes and seats in the 1999 National Council elections, with 33.2% (−4.9%) and 65 seats in the National Council . Klima's successor in the Federal Chancellery was ÖVP chairman Wolfgang Bowl , who would go down in history as the party leader who first made it into the position of head of government from third place in the previous NR election. Klima retired from politics; the SPÖ elected Alfred Gusenbauer as the new party chairman, who also had to assume the role of opposition leader.

In the National Council elections on November 24, 2002, the SPÖ was overtaken by the ÖVP , despite a 3.3% increase in votes , which recorded landslide gains and improved from the historic low of 1999 (26.9%) to 42.3% . After both the exploratory talks between the ÖVP and SPÖ and the concrete coalition negotiations between the ÖVP and the Greens had failed, the ÖVP and FPÖ continued their cooperation.

In the first mood test after the National Council elections in January 2003, the SPÖ suffered a severe loss of votes and mandates in Austria's second largest city Graz in the course of the local council elections there and fell well behind in one of its former strongholds with 25.7% (−5.2%). buoyed by the National Council election success, the ÖVP, which achieved 36.1% (+13.1%). This is the first time since 1985 that the SPÖ has not provided the mayor of the Styrian state capital.

In Lower Austria, SP provincial leader and top candidate Heidemaria Onodi lost out in the March 2003 provincial elections against the popular ÖVP provincial governor Erwin Proell, who was favored by federal political momentum, and despite an increase in votes (from 30.4% to 33.6%) not prevent the absolute majority of the People's Party.

In the state elections in Upper Austria in September 2003 , the SPÖ, led by Erich Haider , gained 11.3% (from 27.0% to 38.3%) and was therefore represented by four out of nine state councilors in the state government. However, the ÖVP, which won 43.4% (+ 0.7%) in this election, formed a coalition with the Greens and therefore continues to be the governor. In the Tyrolean state elections held at the same time as Upper Austria, the SPÖ, headed by top candidate and state party leader Hannes Gschwentner , was able to increase its share from 21.8% to 25.9%, but as usual fell far behind the ÖVP (49.9%), which had the absolute regained the majority of seats.

In Salzburg , the SPÖ gained 13.1% in the state elections in March 2004 and reached 45.4%. She overtook the ÖVP , which got 37.9% of the votes, and, until the 2013 state elections in Salzburg , made Gabi Burgstaller the first provincial governor in Salzburg (Burgstaller prefers this designation).

On March 7, 2004, parallel to Salzburg, the state elections in Carinthia took place, which gave the SPÖ, under the top candidate and state party chairman Peter Ambrozy , a clearly recognizable gain in votes and mandates. However, the Carinthian Social Democracy did not succeed in displacing Provincial Governor Jörg Haider's FPÖ from first place. As a result, there was a coalition between the FPÖ and SPÖ (from April 2005 a BZÖ-SPÖ coalition ) , which was sometimes heavily criticized within the SPÖ was terminated.

In April 2004, Heinz Fischer won the federal presidential election; For the first time since 1980, a candidate supported by the SPÖ was successful, with a share of the vote of 52.4%. His opponent, Benita Ferrero-Waldner (ÖVP), received 47.6%. Fischer's victory was considered very significant for the SPÖ, as it was the first countable federal election victory against the ÖVP since Gusenbauer was elected federal party chairman.

In the elections to the European Parliament in June 2004, the SPÖ, with top candidate Hannes Swoboda , was able to just about defend first place with 33.3% thanks to slight gains, the ÖVP ended up in second place with 32.7% after a small increase in votes. The SPÖ also celebrated this national political victory against the chancellor party ÖVP, although the extremely low voter turnout of just over 40% put the result into perspective.

In the fall of 2004, the SPÖ, with top candidate Elke Sader , was able to increase its share from 13.0% to 16.9% in the state elections in Vorarlberg, but, as usual, lagged far behind the ÖVP, which achieved a clear absolute majority.

In the provincial elections in Burgenland, Styria and Vienna in October 2005, the SPÖ consistently made gains: in Burgenland, headed by Provincial Governor Hans Niessl , it regained the absolute majority (approx. 52%). In Styria, the SPÖ overtook the ÖVP with 41.7% (+ 9.4%), which reached 38.7% (−8.6%), and since October 25, 2005, for the first time since 1945, has provided the governor, Franz Voves .

In Vienna, on the other hand, the SPÖ under Michael Häupl increased its absolute majority from 52 to 55 out of 100 seats, even if it only achieved a relative majority (48.9%) in terms of votes.

Alfred Gusenbauer, SPÖ chairman 2000-2008, Federal Chancellor 2007-2008

In 2005, after more than three years of research, the report on the clarification of the so-called "brown spots" in the party was completed. It deals with SPÖ members and SPÖ functionaries who had been members of the NSDAP (illegal in Austria before the " Anschluss ") and as such had become involved in the crimes of the Nazi regime. As an example, the Nazi doctor and presumed child murderer in the Viennese euthanasia facility "Am Spiegelgrund", Heinrich Gross , is mentioned, who received high honors in the SPÖ. Gross received several awards from the Republic and was protected from criminal prosecution for a long time by the Austrian judiciary thanks to SPÖ Minister of Justice Christian Broda (see also Literature, Links).

In 2006, the BAWAG scandal caused considerable damage to the SPÖ 's image . Despite the results of all reputable opinion research institutes, in the October 2006 National Council elections, with a share of the vote of 35.3% (−2.2%) and 68 seats (−1), it again became the party with the most votes nationwide and the strongest parliamentary group, ahead of the People's Party with 34 .3% (−8.0%) and 66 seats (−13).

2007-2008: Cabinet Gusenbauer - Back in the federal government

The coalition negotiations with the ÖVP led to the swearing in of the Gusenbauer government on January 11, 2007 , a grand coalition of SPÖ and ÖVP under Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer . Parts of the party declared their dissatisfaction with the coalition pact because key ministries (finance, interior, exterior) remained with the ÖVP and important SPÖ campaign demands (see above) did not appear feasible in this coalition.

In the first noteworthy mood test for the government led by SP leader Alfred Gusenbauer after the 2006 National Council elections, the SPÖ recorded a significant loss of votes and seats in the Graz municipal elections on January 20, 2008 and remained in second place behind the ÖVP. The SPÖ also suffered losses in the 2008 state elections in Lower Austria and in the 2008 state elections in Tyrol .

On June 16, 2008, Werner Faymann was appointed executive federal party chairman in a presidium meeting. On August 8, 2008 he replaced Gusenbauer as federal party chairman.

2008-2016: Cabinet Faymann

Werner Faymann, party leader and Federal Chancellor from 2008 to 2016
The SPÖ government team (2008)

On July 7, 2008, the ÖVP announced the red-black coalition. According to Vice Chancellor Wilhelm Molterer , the trigger was the announcement published by Gusenbauer and Faymann at the end of June in the form of a letter to the " Kronen Zeitung " publisher Hans Dichand , "that future treaty changes [note: the EU treaties] that affect Austrian interests , to be decided by a referendum in Austria”. Chancellor Gusenbauer meanwhile declared that he would no longer stand as the lead candidate in a new election. The letter to Dichand was also criticized by those close to the SPÖ as an undignified pandering to the controversial elderly “newspaper czar”, whom Faymann, who linked the newspaper to the newspaper as Vienna city councilor for housing and transport minister through extensive advertisements, is said to have dubbed “Uncle Hans”.

In September 2008 the 24th National Council elections took place in Austria . The SPÖ was able to defend first place with 29.3% of the votes (−6%), but it still posted its weakest result since it was re-founded in 1945.

On November 23, 2008, the party leaders of the SPÖ and ÖVP, Werner Faymann and Josef Proell , declared that they had agreed on a renewed coalition with Faymann as Federal Chancellor ( Bundeskanzler Faymann I ). In connection with this, Faymann was accused of a vague "cosy course" that left open what the SPÖ really stood for politically.

The first few months of the new government were difficult due to numerous electoral defeats. It was only after a few months that the SPÖ was able to gain ground on the issue of distributive justice and implemented some items in the 2011 budget, such as wealth-related taxes.

After the SPÖ suffered (sometimes massive) losses in all elections since the 2008 National Council elections, it again managed to gain votes in the early Carinthian state elections in March 2013. With an increase of 8.3%, it came to 37.1% and became the strongest party in Carinthia for the first time since the 1999 state elections. Thus, after 24 years, she was again able to provide the provincial governor in Carinthia with Peter Kaiser . For the first time in Austria, Kaiser formed a so-called Kenya coalition together with the ÖVP and the Greens . For the first time in the history of the SPÖ, the situation arose in which nine provincial governors were able to provide a majority of five (Burgenland, Carinthia, Salzburg, Styria and Vienna).

As a result of the Salzburg speculation scandal , the SPÖ suffered heavy losses in the state elections in Salzburg in 2013 and lost the governor's chair to the ÖVP . The SPÖ lost votes and mandates again in the 2013 National Council elections , but was able to maintain first place ahead of the ÖVP. Federal Chancellor Werner Faymann continued the coalition with the ÖVP. There were serious defeats in the 2015 Burgenland state elections and in the 2015 Styrian state elections . The Burgenland SPÖ governor Hans Niessl formed a red-blue coalition despite a party congress resolution that excluded cooperation with the FPÖ at all levels. In Styria, the outgoing SPÖ governor Franz Voves agreed with Hermann Schützenhöfer 's ÖVP to continue the red-black cooperation, but the ÖVP was to appoint the governor for the entire legislative period, even though the SPÖ had become the strongest party again. The two state elections and the coalition negotiations that followed plunged the federal SPÖ into a serious crisis.

2016-2017: Cabinet Kern

SPÖ government members of the core federal government (2016)
Group photo of the National and Federal Councilors of the SPÖ and the members of the government (2016)

As a result of the poor result of the SPÖ candidate Rudolf Hundstorfer in the first ballot of the federal presidential election on April 24, 2016 , there were intensive discussions within the party about Faymann as chancellor and party leader. On May 9, 2016, he announced his resignation from the office of Federal Chancellor as well as the chairman of the SPÖ with immediate effect. Christian Kern was appointed Federal Chancellor of the Federal Government . He was also party chairman from June 25, 2016, after this office had been held on an interim basis by the Mayor of Vienna, Michael Häupl .

2017: Renewed opposition

After the resignation of Vice-Chancellor and ÖVP Chairman Reinhold Mitterlehner , the Grand Coalition under Chancellor Christian Kern broke up and the National Council decided to dissolve itself. The following election campaign was shaped, among other things, by the Silberstein affair involving SPÖ advisor Tal Silberstein . In the National Council elections on October 15, 2017 , the SPÖ was able to maintain its result from 2013, but was overtaken by the People's Party under its new chairman Sebastian Kurz . He began coalition negotiations with the FPÖ, which culminated in the appointment and swearing-in of the Kurz I federal government on December 18, 2017 . After Christian Kern 's announcement that he would stand as the SPÖ's top candidate for the European elections in May 2019 and that he would step down from the party presidency before that in November 2018, Rendi-Wagner was designated as his preferred candidate on September 22, 2018 by the SPÖ party presidium as his successor and took over as managing director party chair. At the 44th ordinary federal party conference in Wels on November 24, 2018, Rendi-Wagner was elected party leader of the SPÖ with 97.81 percent of the delegate votes, making her the first woman in the history of the party founded in 1888 . The new SPÖ leader said her goal was that she wanted to "become the first female Chancellor of this republic". On December 18, 2017, the turquoise-blue federal government Kurz I was appointed and sworn in by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen . On May 18, 2019, Kurz announced early elections because of the " Ibiza affair " surrounding FPÖ Vice-Chancellor Strache. Since Interior Minister Herbert Kickl was dismissed from the government at the suggestion of the Federal Chancellor, the FPÖ also withdrew its other ministers from the federal government. The ÖVP-led minority government was overthrown in parliament on May 27, 2019 with the votes of the SPÖ, the FPÖ and the list now, and the Federal President then sworn in the Bierlein government as an interim government on June 3 .

On May 28, 2019, Rendi-Wagner was unanimously confirmed by the party executive committee as the top candidate for the 2019 national elections in Austria . With 21.18 percent (minus 5.7 percentage points), your party achieved its worst ever result in a National Council election. After the heavy defeat in the state elections in Styria on November 24, 2019, a personnel debate began in the party, and the high level of debt became the focus of reporting. In the state elections in Burgenland , Hans Peter Doskozil , a representative of the right wing of the party, won the absolute majority of seats. Pamela Rendi-Wagner decided because of constant cross shots from the party, in a member survey on March 4th. - 2.4. to ask the question of trust. The party leader won this with 71.4% with a turnout of 41.3%. After a short break for the chairwoman, the governor of Burgenland, Hans Peter Doskozil, sharply attacked her again at the end of July and questioned whether she would lead the SPÖ in the 2024 national council elections. In the 2020 Vienna state and local council elections , the SPÖ gained around 2 percentage points under Mayor Michael Ludwig and took first place with around 41.6%, a clear lead over the ÖVP.

At the federal party conference in 2021, the number of deputy party chairmen was reduced to six, and Doris Bures , Birgit Gerstorfer , Eva Maria Holzleitner , Peter Kaiser , Michael Ludwig and Franz Schnabl were elected Rendi-Wagner’s deputies. At the federal party conference in 2021, Pamela Rendi-Wagner was re-elected party leader with 75.3%.

In the state elections in Upper Austria in 2021, the top candidate Birgit Gerstorfer , starting from a record low, gained about 0.2 percentage points and came to 18.6%.

Current election results

Wins and losses of the last elections (since 2017)
Countries in which the SPÖ is represented in the state parliament (2016)
  • as a member of the state government and the state governor
  • as a member of the state government
  • as a member of a proportional government without a labor agreement
  • as an opposition party
  • The SPÖ has three provincial governors (in Vienna , Burgenland , and since March 2013 again in Carinthia ) and is represented in Lower Austria and Styria in the provincial government as a junior partner. Until June 2013, she also provided the state governor in Salzburg with Gabi Burgstaller . Furthermore, the SPÖ is represented in the Upper Austrian provincial government , despite a working agreement between the ÖVP and the FPÖ, through the proportional representation system with a provincial councillor. In addition, it is particularly strongly represented in the trade unions and the chambers of labor as well as in some companies in the form of the Social Democratic Unionists (FSG) faction.

    Latest election results at national level and in the federal states

    Federal party chairman since 1945

    Bundesregierung Kurz II Bundesregierung Bierlein Bundesregierung Kurz I Bundesregierung Kern Bundesregierung Faymann II Bundesregierung Faymann I Bundesregierung Gusenbauer Bundesregierung Schüssel II Bundesregierung Schüssel I Bundesregierung Klima Bundesregierung Vranitzky V Bundesregierung Vranitzky IV Bundesregierung Vranitzky III Bundesregierung Vranitzky II Bundesregierung Vranitzky I Bundesregierung Sinowatz Bundesregierung Kreisky IV Bundesregierung Kreisky III Bundesregierung Kreisky II Bundesregierung Kreisky I Bundesregierung Klaus II Bundesregierung Klaus I Bundesregierung Gorbach II Bundesregierung Gorbach I Bundesregierung Raab IV Bundesregierung Raab III Bundesregierung Raab II Bundesregierung Raab I Bundesregierung Figl III Bundesregierung Figl II Bundesregierung Figl I Provisorische Staatsregierung Renner 1945 Pamela Rendi-Wagner Christian Kern Werner Faymann Alfred Gusenbauer Viktor Klima Franz Vranitzky Fred Sinowatz Bruno Kreisky Bruno Pittermann Adolf Schärf

    Central Secretaries and Federal Managers since 1945

    Until 1993, the federal directors were called central secretaries.

    central secretaries

    Federal Managing Director

    Andrea Brunner was Deputy Federal Managing Director from December 2017 to November 2019.

    national organizations

    apron organizations

    For a long time, Austrian social democracy was in stark contrast to the bourgeois conservative camp. For this reason, social democrats often did not want to become members of bourgeois associations outside of politics; they founded their own clubs. These are formally independent of the SPÖ, but are often headed by officials and mandataries of the SPÖ and are therefore referred to by political observers as front organizations or close to the party. In some of these clubs (including BSA, ASKÖ, Kinderfreunde) officials must or had to be SPÖ party members according to the club statutes. Among others, the following can be mentioned:

    Former party newspapers of the SPÖ

    party discussion board

    party organs

    The parliamentary club of the SPÖ publishes online with the web magazine . The political academy of the SPÖ, the Dr. Karl Renner Institute , publishes the magazine Die Zukunft eleven times a year .


    The number of members of the SPÖ peaked at the end of the 1970s with over 720,000 people. By 1990, this number had shrunk to around 620,000 people, of whom another two-thirds were gone by 2005. In March 2017, membership was around 180,000. With a nationwide uniform annual membership fee of 72 euros, this results in income of around 13 million euros for the SPÖ.

    Prominent Members

    See Category:SPÖ member .


    The SPÖ's annual report for 2015 was not published until the end of August 2017 by the Court of Auditors. The SPÖ therefore had total income of almost 96 million euros, the expenditure was 107.2 million euros.

    The income of the SPÖ consists mainly of party funding , which (including funding for the parliamentary club and the Dr. Karl Renner Institute ) amounted to EUR 19.2 million at federal level for 2017. In addition, there are subsidies for the SPÖ in the federal states of EUR 38.5 million, making a total of EUR 57.7 million.

    According to estimates, the SPÖ owes EUR 20 million after the 2017 National Council elections . This corresponds to a quadrupling of debt as of 2011 from EUR 5 million at the time. The cause of the high level of debt is the aftermath of the financial disaster at the Arbeiter-Zeitung in the 1980s, the chronic imbalance between the party’s fixed costs and income, and the constant decline in membership seen. To pay off debts, the Gartenhotel Altmannsdorf, which belongs to the SPÖ, was sold to UM Bau AG for EUR 14 million, as well as the operating company of the Gloriette in Schönbrunn , which belongs to the party, and another three-star hotel. The goal is to have paid off all debts by 2021.

    The party has also been heavily indebted on several occasions in the past. After the 1999 National Council election , the SPÖ had debts of EUR 25 million. At that time, countermeasures were taken by selling the federal party's shares in the Echo advertising agency, by increasing membership fees and by transferring tasks to the state organizations. The financial situation was made more difficult after the completion of the restructuring in 2006 by the emergency sale of Bawag in the course of a financial scandal , especially since the bank supplied the equivalent of EUR 95 million to the SPÖ, trade unions and consumer goods from the 1970s to 1989 alone through excessive payments for real estate and companies had. On the other hand, the suspicion that the SPÖ's debt relief after 2000 took place as covert party financing via Bawag was repeatedly voiced.


    web links

    Commons : Social Democratic Party of Austria  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
     Wikinews: SPÖ  – in the news


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