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Maiverfassung 1934 (May Constitution of 1934), drafted by O. Ender; promulgated on April 24, 1934 by means of an executive decree which the government was entitled to pass under the War Economy Empowering Act (Kriegswirtschaftliches Ermaechtigungsgesetz) adopted in 1917. This act enabled the executive branch to issue regulations aiming at an acceleration of reconstruction efforts in times of war. The act had never been abolished after Word War I and was thus illicitly adapted to the needs of the authoritarian government. With 74 to 2 votes the new constitution was adopted by a rump parliament (76 of 165 members) which had not met since 1933 and was convened for one last session on April 30, 1934. The constitution was re-promulgated on May 1, 1934. Austria thus became a federal state based on Christian and corporate principles. Legislative and executive powers were distributed among federal, provincial and local authorities. Vienna was made the centre of government and the federal capital of Austria. Members of the advisory bodies (Staatsrat, Bundeskulturrat, Laenderrat) were to be appointed by the Federal President. Government bills were to be discussed in the Bundestag, which was composed of members of the advisory bodies. In special cases (e.g. for drawing up a list of three candidates for the federal presidency) a joint session of the members of the advisory bodies (called Bundesversammlung) was to be held. The Federal President was to be elected by the Austrian mayors. Seven corporate groups were to be set up but only two of them (the civil servants and the agricultural and forestry workers) ever came into being. The executive was given complete control over the legislative branch of government, which had so far been in the hands of the Bundesrat and the Nationalrat. This constitution, which was gradually put into force by means of an interim constitutional regulation, formed the legal basis for the Corporate State and was also to constitute the formal basis for the Anschluss.


A. Merkl, Die staendisch-autoritaere Verfassung Oesterreichs, 1935; E. Huber, Die Verfassung des Staendestaates in ihrer politischen Auswirkung, doctoral thesis, Vienna 1961; G. Jagschitz, Der oesterreichische Staendestaat 1934-38, in: E. Weinzierl and K. Skalnik (eds.), Oesterreich 1918-38 vol. 1, 1983.