Elections in Austria

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Elections in Austria take place at three levels: at the federal level , the state level and the municipal level . The principle of proportional representation is the basis at all levels .

All Austrian citizens who have reached the age of 16 on election day at the latest have a general, free, equal, direct, secret and personal right to vote. Exclusion from this is only possible by a court order.


  • 1848: Introduction of census voting rights .
  • 1873: Reichsrat election reform in the kingdoms and states represented in the Reichsrat ( Cisleithanien ): The members of the House of Representatives were elected to four curiae (aristocratic landowners, town councils, trade and commerce, rural communities) on the basis of the census suffrage . Only about 6% of the male population aged 24 and over were eligible to vote; the required annual minimum tax payment was regulated differently in different places and was 10 guilders in Vienna. In the large landowner curia "self-sufficient" women, ie women who represented themselves, were also entitled to vote.
  • 1882: Taaffe's reform of the electoral law : the tax payment for voting was reduced to 5 guilders.
  • 1896: Baden's electoral reform created a general class of voters (The 5th Curia was the general class of male voters from the age of 24.) The members of the first four Curia were allowed to vote again in the 5th Curia; the number of mandates per vote was between the Curiae unevenly distributed.
  • 1907: Beck's reform of the electoral law : abolition of the curiae suffrage and introduction of general male suffrage (active suffrage: 24 years; passive suffrage: 30 years)
  • 1919: After the fall of the monarchy and the law of November 12, 1918 on the form of state and government in German Austria , women also obtained universal and equal suffrage.
  • 1919: A separate electoral law was created for the election of the constituent national assembly of German Austria on February 16, 1919. Transition to proportional representation (proportional representation), which was mainly demanded by the Social Democratic Workers' Party (SDAP) .
  • 1945: With the re-establishment of the Republic of Austria, the electoral law of 1920 applies again.
  • In 1970 and 1992 the National Council election regulations (NRWO) were reformed.
  • 2003: Lowering the voting age from 19 to 18 years (Federal Law Gazette I No. 90/2003)
  • 2007: Reduction of the active voting age from 18 to 16 years, simplification of postal voting and voting abroad, extension of the electoral period from four to five years, lowering of the passive voting age from 19 to 18 years (Federal Law Gazette I No. 27/2007 and 28 / 2007).

Federal level

At the federal level, the National Council , the Federal President and the Austrian members of the European Parliament are elected.

National Council election

183 members are elected to the Austrian National Council for five years (since the election in 2008 , previously for four years). The federal territory is divided into 9 state constituencies and these in turn into 39 regional constituencies. There is an investigation procedure for each of these three levels.

The mandates in the regional constituency and in the state constituency are determined according to the number of elections (see allocation of seats). In the third investigation, in which the maximum number procedure according to d'Hondt is used, a nationwide proportional compensation takes place.

Electoral system : proportional representation with associated federal, state and regional lists. The voters can rearrange the lists with the help of the preferential vote.

Special features : Three-tier distribution of seats in 39 regional constituencies, 9 regional constituencies (federal states) and at the federal level, whereby the seats of a lower level are counted towards the higher. Overhang mandates are deducted from the mandate quota of the other parties. Split of votes is not allowed.

Active and passive right to vote : Every Austrian citizen who has reached the age of 16 at the end of the election day at the latest is eligible to vote (§ 21).

Anyone who has Austrian citizenship on the reference date and who has reached the age of 18 by the end of the election day at the latest and is not excluded from the right to vote is passively entitled to vote (§ 41).

Number of votes : According to Section 36, every person entitled to vote has only one vote (party vote). In addition, in accordance with Section 79 (1), he can assign one preferential vote for an applicant on the state party list and one from the regional party list of the party he has elected.

Division of the electoral area - Allocation of mandates to constituencies : The entire federal territory is divided into 9 state constituencies (federal states), which in turn are divided into 39 regional constituencies.

Before the election, each state constituency is assigned as many of the 183 mandates as there are inhabitants there after the last census, using the quota method according to the largest fraction (Hare). These mandates are distributed accordingly to the regional constituencies. (This distribution to the regional constituencies before the election does not, however, affect the distribution of mandates.)

Candidacy : In order to submit a state election proposal (list of candidates, declarations of consent), 500 in Vienna and Lower Austria, 400 in Upper Austria and Styria, 200 in Tyrol, Carinthia and Salzburg, and 100 declarations of support from eligible voters are required in Vorarlberg and Burgenland; alternatively the support of 3 members of the National Council.

Eligibility clause : According to Sections 100 (1), 107 (2) NRWO, only parties take part in the second and third preliminary proceedings who have a mandate in at least one of the regional constituencies - i.e. a regional 14% (Graz) - to -86% (East Tyrol) hurdle - or have achieved at least 4% of the valid votes cast in the entire federal territory.

Distribution of seats

First preliminary investigation (regional constituency)

In the state constituency (federal state) a number is determined: Valid votes cast by the number of mandates assigned to the state constituency, increased to the next whole number.

Each party receives as many mandates as the number of votes included in its party total in the regional constituency (Section 97).

Allocation of the mandates to the regional applicants of the regional party lists according to the preference votes: i.e. Applicants who have achieved half as many preferential votes as the number of elections or one sixth as many preferential votes as votes valid for this party in the relevant regional constituency will receive the mandates in the order of the preferential votes. The remaining seats are allocated in the order of the regional party list.

Second preliminary investigation (state constituency)

Each party that has overcome the threshold clauses receives as many mandates as the number of votes in its party total in the state electoral district, minus any mandates obtained in the first investigation.

The state list mandates go first to the applicants who have received at least as many preferential votes as the number of elections, in the order of the preferential votes, the other mandates in the order in which they are listed on the state party list.

Third preliminary investigation

This is the crucial step in the calculation. All 183 mandates are distributed nationwide to the parties using the divisor procedure with rounding off (d'Hondt).

If a party has already received more mandates in the second investigation (overhang mandates), it will keep these mandates. The remaining mandates will be divided again between the other parties.

The mandates calculated in the third preliminary investigation, minus the seats allocated in the first two preliminary investigation, are assigned to the applicants of the parties in the order of the federal election proposal.

Election of the Federal President

Election mode

The Federal President is elected in a secret, equal, general, free and personal popular election for a term of six years. His term of office begins with the inauguration before the Federal Assembly (the National Council and the Federal Council meet in a joint public session). A one-time re-election is possible.

The Federal Assembly traditionally meets in the Reich Council meeting room of the Parliament building in Vienna .

Right to vote

Everyone who is also entitled to vote for the National Council is entitled to vote.

Passive suffrage

Anyone who is passively eligible to vote in the National Council and has reached the age of 35 at the latest on the day of the election.

Grounds for exclusion

Persons who have already been elected Federal President twice in a row, in the election for the term of office immediately following their term of office

The ban on members of ruling houses or such families who previously ruled (monarchy regulations) no longer exists.

Compulsory elective

There is no compulsory voting nationwide .

Until 1982, there was a legal obligation in all federal states to participate in the election of the Federal President. With the amendment of the corresponding federal (constitutional) laws , this obligation only existed in the federal states, which provided for compulsory voting in their own state laws (Carinthia, Styria, Tyrol and Vorarlberg). The states of Styria and Carinthia lifted this obligation until the 1998 election, Vorarlberg until the 2004 election. Following the 2004 election, the state of Tyrol followed the rest of Austria. With the electoral reform that came into effect on July 1, 2007, this constitutional provision was abolished, thus abolishing compulsory voting in elections to the Federal President.

European elections

In the European elections , the members of the European Parliament are elected.

State level

At the state level, the electoral regulations differ depending on the state. In Carinthia, Salzburg, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna, as an alternative to reaching the number of votes in the constituency, 5% of the valid votes cast are required to participate in the allocation of mandates, in Burgenland and Upper Austria 4%. In Styria there is no alternative hurdle to the number of votes in a constituency. Lower Austria is a special case: Here a party of 4% or more takes part in proportional adjustment nationwide, but parties below 4% retain any constituency mandates (in contrast to the National Council election).

Due to the lowering of the voting age at federal level, the active voting age will be 16 years and the passive voting age 18 years from December 31, 2007 at the latest.

Local / community level

At the municipal level, the electoral regulations vary from state to state . With the exception of Vienna, however, Union citizens of other EU member states are also entitled to vote at municipal level in all federal states .

The municipal council and the mayor are separated and directly elected by the voters. The voting age has been 16 years since 2005 . The electoral term is 5 years.
The municipal council and the mayor are elected separately. The composition of the municipal council is determined by means of list voting , the mayor by direct election . The candidates for the mayor's office must have an absolute majority of the valid votes, but at the same time they must have been elected to the municipal council via list voting. If no applicant achieves an absolute majority in the first ballot, or if the candidate was able to collect more than 50% of the votes but was not elected to the municipal council, a run-off election must be held after two weeks, in which the two candidates stand who were able to unite the most votes in the first ballot and at the same time were elected to the municipal council via list voting. The voting age has been 16 years since 2002. Elections take place every 6 years.
Lower Austria
Only the local council is directly elected. A preferential vote can be given. The principle of "person trumps party" applies, that is, a preferred vote cast is also a vote for the candidate's party and cancels a cross that may have been placed with another party. The mayor is elected from among the municipal councils. The voting age is 16 years and elected every five years. The last regular date for the municipal elections was January 25th, 2015. There are official ballot papers , but they do not have to be used, because so-called "unofficial ballot papers" can also be used, which is why the parties are happy to distribute their own completed forms.
Upper Austria
The municipal council and the mayor are separated and directly elected by the voters. The voting age is 16 years. The elections take place every 6 years and at the same time as the state elections.
Elections take place every 5 years. The municipal council and mayor are elected separately.
Elections take place every 5 years.
As in Burgenland, the municipal council and mayor are elected separately. Elections take place every 6 years.
Elections take place every 5 years.
The voting age is 16 years. Elections take place every 5 years.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Division of the federal territory into state and regional constituencies (German), accessed on April 6, 2013