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Austria: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Republic of Austria
conventional short form: Austria
local long form: Republik Oesterreich
local short form: Oesterreich
etymology: the name Oesterreich means "eastern realm" or "eastern march" and dates to the 10th century; the designation refers to the fact that Austria was the easternmost extension of Bavaria, and in fact of all the Germans; the word Austria is a Latinization of the German name
Government typefederal parliamentary republic
CapitalVienna Vienna
geographic coordinates: 48 12 N, 16 22 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions9 states (Bundeslaender, singular - Bundesland); Burgenland, Kaernten (Carinthia), Niederoesterreich (Lower Austria), Oberoesterreich (Upper Austria), Salzburg, Steiermark (Styria), Tirol (Tyrol), Vorarlberg, Wien (Vienna)
Independence12 November 1918 (republic proclaimed); notable earlier dates: 976 (Margravate of Austria established); 17 September 1156 (Duchy of Austria founded); 11 August 1804 (Austrian Empire proclaimed)
National holidayNational Day, 26 October (1955); note - commemorates the passage of the law on permanent neutrality
Constitutionhistory: several previous; latest adopted 1 October 1920, revised 1929, replaced May 1934 (authoritarian corporate state), replaced by German Weimar constitution in 1938 following German annexation, reinstated 1 May 1945
amendments: proposed through laws designated "constitutional laws" or through the constitutional process if the amendment is part of another law; approval required by at least two-thirds majority vote of the National Assembly if one-half of the members are present; a referendum is required only if requested by one-third of the National Council or Federal Council membership; passage by referendum requires absolute majority vote; amended many times, last in 2014 (2016)
Legal systemcivil law system; judicial review of legislative acts by the Constitutional Court
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Austria
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
Suffrage16 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: Alexander VAN DER BELLEN (since 26 January 2017)
head of government: Chancellor Christian KERN (SPOe) (since 17 May 2016); Vice Chancellor Wolfgang BRANDSTETTER (OeVP) (since 17 May 2017)
cabinet: Council of Ministers chosen by the president on the advice of the chancellor
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 6-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 24 April 2016 (first round), 22 May 2016 (second round, which was annulled), and 4 December 2016 (second round re-vote); next presidential elections to be held in April 2022; chancellor appointed by the president but determined by the majority coalition parties in the Federal Assembly; vice chancellor appointed by the president on the advice of the chancellor
election results: percent of vote: first-round results - Norbet HOFER (FPOe) 35.1%, Alexander VAN DER BELLEN (independent, allied with the Greens) 21.3%, Irmgard GRISS (independent) 18.9%, Rudolf HUNDSTORFER (SPOe) 11.3%, Andreas KHOL (OeVP) 11.1%, Richard LUGNER (independent) 2.3%; second round results - Alexander VAN DER BELLEN 53.8%, Norbet HOFER 46.2%
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung consists of the Federal Council or Bundesrat (62 seats; members appointed by state parliaments with each state receiving 3 to 12 seats in proportion to its population; members serve 5- or 6-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (183 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: National Council - last held on 29 September 2013 (next to be held by September 2018)
election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - SPOe 26.8%, OeVP 24.0%, FPOe 20.5%, Greens 12.4%, Team Stronach 5.7%, NEOS 5.0%, other 5.6%; seats by party - SPOe 52, OeVP 47, FPOe 40, Greens 24, Team Stronach 11, NEOS 9; note - currently: SPOe 52, OeVP 50, FPOe 38, Greens 24, NEOS 9, Team Stronach 6, without faction 4
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice or Oberster Gerichtshof (consists of 85 judges organized into 17 senates or panels of 5 judges each); Constitutional Court or Verfassungsgerichtshof (consists of 20 judges including 6 substitutes; Administrative Court or Verwaltungsgerichtshof - 2 judges plus other members depending on the importance of the case)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by executive branch departments and appointed by the president; judges serve for life; Constitutional Court judges nominated by several executive branch departments and approved by the president; judges serve for life; Administrative Court judges recommended by executive branch departments and appointed by the president; terms of judges and members determined by the president
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (4); Regional Courts (20); district courts (120); county courts
Political parties and leadersAustrian People's Party or OeVP (Reinhold MITTERLEHNER)
Communist Party of Austria or KPOe (Mirko MESSNER)
Freedom Party of Austria or FPOe (Heinz-Christian STRACHE)
The Greens (Eva GLAWISCHNIG)
NEOS - The New Austria (Matthias STROLZ)
Social Democratic Party of Austria or SPOe (Christian KERN)
"Team Stronach" (Frank STRONACH)
Political pressure groups and leadersAustrian Trade Union Federation or OeGB (nominally independent but primarily Social Democratic)
Federal Agriculture Chamber (OeVP-dominated)
Federal Economic Chamber (OeVP-dominated)
Labor Chamber or AK (Social Democratic-leaning think tank)
OeVP-oriented Association of Austrian Industrialists or IV
Roman Catholic Church, including its chief lay organization, Catholic Action other: three composite leagues of the Austrian People's Party or OeVP representing business, labor, farmers, and other nongovernment organizations in the areas of environment and human rights
International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC (observer), CD, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Wolfgang WALDNER (since 28 January 2016)
chancery: 3524 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008-3035
telephone: (1) (202) 895-6700
FAX: (1) (202) 895-6750
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles, New York
consulate(s): Chicago
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Alexa Lange WESNER (since 22 October 2013)
embassy: Boltzmanngasse 16, A-1090, Vienna
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: (43) (1) 31339-0
FAX: (43) (1) 3100682
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red; the flag design is certainly one of the oldest - if not the oldest - national banners in the world; according to tradition, in 1191, following a fierce battle in the Third Crusade, Duke Leopold V of Austria's white tunic became completely blood-spattered; upon removal of his wide belt or sash, a white band was revealed; the red-white-red color combination was subsequently adopted as his banner
National symbol(s)golden eagle, edelweiss, Alpine gentian; national colors: red, white
National anthemname: "Bundeshymne" (Federal Hymn)
lyrics/music: Paula von PRERADOVIC/Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART or Johann HOLZER (disputed)

note: adopted 1947; the anthem is also known as "Land der Berge, Land am Strome" (Land of the Mountains, Land by the River); Austria adopted a new national anthem after World War II to replace the former imperial anthem composed by Franz Josef HAYDN, which had been appropriated by Germany in 1922 and was thereafter associated with the Nazi regime; a gendered version of the lyrics was adopted by the Austrian Federal Assembly in fall 2011 and became effective 1 January 2012


Comment:#

There have been a few recent changes in party leadership:

Sebastin KURZ has followed Reinhold MITTERLEHNER
Ulrike LUNACEK has followed Eva GLAWISCHNIGG
Robert LUGAR has followed Frank STRONACH

There will be parliamentary elections October 15, 2017. It is wide open who will form a (certainly coalition) government. Three parties are predicted to gain over 20% of the vote: OeVP, FPOe and SPOe. However, it is going to be the election with the largest number of contending groups. Hence even a wide coalition will miss the 2/3 majority that would be required for what many consider necessary: far reaching reforms.