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AUSTRIA
Nationalrat (National Council)

This page contains the full text of the PARLINE database entry on the selected parliamentary chamber, with the exception of Oversight and Specialized bodies modules which, because of their excessive length, can be only viewed and printed separately.

Modules:
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER

Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlament / Parliament
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Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Nationalrat / National Council
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Bundesrat / Federal Council
Affiliation to the IPU Yes
Affiliation date(s) 1890 -
LEADERSHIP
President (vacant)   
Notes 2 August 2014 -
Secretary General Harald Dossi (M) 
Notes 1 March 2012 -
COMPOSITION
Members (statutory / current number) 183 / 183
PERCENTAGE OF WOMEN


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Women (current number) 59 (32.24%)
Mode of designation directly elected 183
Term 5 years
Last renewal dates 29 September 2013
(View details)
CONTACT INFORMATION
Address Nationalrat
Parlamentsgebäude
Dr. Karl-Renner-Ring 3
A- 1017 WIEN
(Export mailing lists)
Phone (431) 401 10-0
Fax (431) 401 10 2537
E-mail petra.rund@parlament.gv.at
Website
http://www.parlinkom.gv.at
http://www.parlament.gv.at/

ELECTORAL SYSTEM

Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlament / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Nationalrat / National Council
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Bundesrat / Federal Council
LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Electoral law 10 July 1992
last amendment: 05.06.2007
Mode of designation directly elected 183
Constituencies The 9 multi-member constituencies (from 7 to 36 seats each) correspond to the country's provinces (Länder); seats are allotted to each based on population. The provinces are broken down into 43 regional constituencies.
Voting system Proportional: Closed party-list system with proportional representation applying the Hare method to the regional and provincial constituencies, and the d'Hondt method at the federal level; 4 per cent threshold for parties to gain representation.
There are no reserved seats or quotas for women, ethnic minorities or other categories.
Vacancies arising between general elections are filled by the "next-in-line" candidate on the list of the party which held the seat.
Voting is not compulsory.
Voter requirements - age: 16 years old on election day
- Austrian citizenship, including naturalized citizens
- disqualifications: imprisonment exceeding one year (the disqualification is valid for six months thereafter)
There is no residence requirement.
Citizens overseas can vote without restriction.
CANDIDATES
Eligibility - qualified electors
- age: 18 on election day
- Austrian citizenship, including naturalized citizens
Ineligibility: imprisonment exceeding one year (the disqualification is valid for six months thereafter)
Incompatibilities - Federal President
- members of the Federal Council
- members of the European Parliament
- members of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court or the Administrative Court
- President of the Audit Office
- Parliamentary Commissioners (Ombudsmen)
- executives of joint stock companies, banking, commercial, transport and industrial private limited companies, provincial credit institutes and mutual insurance companies
Candidacy requirements - nomination by a party
- support by three outgoing National Council members from the party or by 100 to 500 electors from the party (depending on the constituency)
- submission of election platform
- in each constituency, deposit equivalent to approximately 435 euros paid by each party, not reimbursed
- number of candidates put forward by each party cannot exceed twice the number of seats to be filled

LAST ELECTIONS

Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlament / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Nationalrat / National Council
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Bundesrat / Federal Council
BACKGROUND
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 29 September 2013
Timing and scope of renewal Chancellor Werner Faymann's Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) remained the largest force in the National Council, taking 52 of the 183 seats. Its coalition partner since 2006, Mr. Michael Spindelegger's People's Party (ÖVP), came in second with 47 seats. Both parties recorded their worst results since World War II, losing five and four seats respectively. On the contrary, Freedom Party (FPÖ), led by Mr. Heinz-Christian Strache, gained six more seats, making a total of 40. Two new parties entered parliament: the Team Stronach for Austria (FRANK), led by Austro-Canadian businessman Mr. Frank Stronach, took 11 seats; and the Neos-New Austria (NEOS), formed by former ÖVP member, Mr. Matthias Strolz, which took nine seats.

During the election campaigning, the SPÖ promised to create more jobs, adopt tax cuts for low earners and tax increases for "millionaires". The ÖVP opposed new taxes and promised to introduce measures to free businesses from red tape. The FPÖ campaigned to leave the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund for ailing euro zone members, a voice echoed by the FRANK, which also called for a flat rate tax. The NEOS said it would not join a coalition that included the FPÖ, stating that it does not share the party's views on Europe and immigration.

On 9 October, President Heinz Fischer asked Mr. Faymann (SPÖ) to form a new government.
Date of previous elections: 28 September 2008

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: N/A

Timing of election: Upon normal expiry

Expected date of next elections: September 2018

Number of seats at stake: 183 (full renewal)

Number of candidates: 2,563

Percentage of women candidates: Not available

Number of parties contesting the election: 14

Number of parties winning seats: 6

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 29 October 2013

Name of the new Speaker: Ms. Barbara Prammer (SPÖ)
STATISTICS
Voter turnout
Round no 129 September 2013
Number of registered electors
Voters
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
6'384'308
4'782'410 (74.91%)
89'503
4'692'907
Notes
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political group Candidates Votes % of votes
Social Democratic Party (SPÖ)
People's Party (ÖVP)
Freedom Party (FPÖ)
Greens
Team Stronach for Austria (FRANK)
Neos-New Austria (NEOS)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total of seats
Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) 52
People's Party (ÖVP) 47
Freedom Party (FPÖ) 40
Greens 24
Team Stronach for Austria (FRANK) 11
Neos-New Austria (NEOS) 9
Distribution of seats according to sex
Men

Women

Percent of women
122

61

33.33%
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Comments
Sources:
National Council (30.10.2013, 04.03.2014)
http://wahl13.bmi.gv.at/
http://www.nationalratswahl.at/
http://www.nationalratswahl.at/kandidaten.html

PRESIDENCY OF THE PARLIAMENTARY CHAMBER

Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlament / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Nationalrat / National Council
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Bundesrat / Federal Council
APPOINTMENT AND TERM OF OFFICE
Title Speaker of the National Council
Term - Duration: 5 years (term of Chamber)
- Reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, loss of mandate as a member of the Chamber, dissolution of the Chamber, impeachment, appointment to another office or position, conviction for illegal activities, death.
- The Speaker cannot be removed by members of the Chamber before the end of his/her mandate.
- In the case of dissolution of the Chamber, the outgoing Speaker continues to act as Speaker.
Appointment - The Speaker is elected by members of the Chamber.
- The election is held at the first session of the newly elected Chamber.
Eligibility - Only members of the Chamber are eligible
- The Speaker's post is incompatible with those of the Second Speaker and the Third Speaker of the National Council and the Federal President.
- Former Speakers may seek re-election.
Voting system - There is a formal notification process for the candidate. The political parties represented in the Chamber may nominate a candidate for the post of the Speaker, the Second and Third Speakers according to their number of seats (i.e., the largest party nominates the candidate for Speaker).
- The Speaker is elected by secret ballot.
- The candidate who receives the largest number of votes is declared elected.
Procedures / results - The outgoing Speaker presides over the Chamber during the voting.
- The outgoing Speaker and the Secretary General supervise the Chamber during the voting.
- The outgoing Speaker announces the results.
- The results cannot be challenged.
STATUS
Status - The Speaker holds the third highest office in the State after the Federal President and the Chancellor.
- The Speaker of the Lower Chamber ranks higher in the hierarchy of State than the President of the Upper Chamber.
- Although the National Council and the Federal Council are separate bodies, their members form a third parliamentary body called the Federal Assembly. The Speaker of the National Council and the President of the Federal Council preside over the Federal Assembly alternately.
- The Speaker, the Second Speaker and the Third Speakers may jointly act as Head of State (Federal President) in case of the latter's prolonged absence.
- The Speaker is the ex officio Chair of the Main Committee and the Standing Subcommittee of the Main Committee.
- In the absence of the Speaker, the Second or the Third Speaker assumes his/her role and duties.
Board - The Speaker is assisted by the Conference of Presidents.
- The Conference of Presidents is primarily an advisory body.
- The Conference of Presidents consists of the Speaker, the Second Speaker and the Third Speaker of the National Council as well as the chairpersons of all parliamentary groups, including opposition groups. They automatically become members by virtue of their function in the National Council and serve a five-year term (term of Chamber).
Material facilities - A special allowance of a maximum of 17,000 euros per month.
- An official car
- Ten additional staff members: (chief of cabinet, press officer, political staff, secretaries and driver)
FUNCTIONS
Organization of parliamentary business Organization of parliamentary business
The Speaker may:
- convene sessions,
- establish and modify the agenda, i.e. the programme and schedule of work,
- organize the debates and set speaking times,
- refer a text to committee for study,
- group amendments for debate and voting purposes.
Chairing of public sittings The Speaker may:
- open, adjourn and close sittings,
- interpret the rules or other regulations governing the functioning of the Chamber,
- ensure respect for provisions of the Constitution and the Standing Orders,
- make announcements concerning the Chamber,
- take disciplinary measures in the event of a disturbance and lift such measures,
- establish the list of speakers,
- give and withdraw permission to speak,
- select which amendments are to be debated,
- establish the order in which amendments are taken up,
- call for a vote,
- decide how a vote will be carried out,
- verify the voting procedure,
- check the quorum,
- cancel a vote in the event of irregularities,
- authenticate the adopted texts and the records of debates,
- give the floor outside the agenda and thus organize impromptu debates.
Special powers The Speaker may:
- establish or participate in establishing the Chamber's budget,
- recruit, assign and promote staff,
- represent the Chamber in its relations with foreign parliaments and bodies,
- be responsible for safety and discipline in the Chamber and may call in the police in the event of a dispute in the Chamber,
- organize the services of the parliament.
The Conference of Presidents may:
- participate in establishing the Chamber's budget.
Speaking and voting rights, other functions The Speaker may:
- take the floor in legislative debates,
- take part in voting.

PARLIAMENTARY MANDATE

Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlament / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Nationalrat / National Council
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Bundesrat / Federal Council
NATURE
Nature of the mandate · Free representation (Art. 56 (1) of the Federal Constitutional Law of 01.07.1934 as amended up to 1995)
Start of the mandate · When the letter of credentials has been deposited with the Parliamentary Administration (S. 9 of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council). Procedure (S. 1 (1) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council).
Validation of mandates · Validation by the Constitutional Court only in case of challenge (Art. 141 (1) (a) and (e) of the Federal Constitutional Law)
· Procedure (Art. 141 (1) (a) and (e) of the Federal Constitutional Law)
End of the mandate · On the day when the newly elected Parliament meets (Art. 27 (1) and 29 (3) of the Federal Constitutional Law; for early dissolution by the National Council, see Art. 29 (2) and (3) of the Federal Constitutional Law). In case of early dissolution by the Federal President, the mandate ends on the day of early dissolution (Art. 29 (1) of the Federal Constitutional Law). For the Presidents and the Main Committee, see S. 6 (1) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council.
Can MPs resign? Yes · Yes, of their own free will (see also Art. 56 (2) and (3) of the Federal Constitutional Law)
· Procedure (S. 2 (8) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
· Authority competent to accept the resignation: the resignation does not need to be accepted
Can MPs lose their mandate ? Yes (a) Loss of mandate by judicial decision: decision by the Constitutional Court:
- Failure to take the oath, to take it in due form and without reservations (Art. 141 (c) of the Federal Constitutional Law, S. 2 (1) (1.), (2), (3), and (5), and S. 4 of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
- Loss of mandate for absence (Art. 141 (c) of the Federal Constitutional Law, S. 2 (1) (2.), (2), (3), and (5), and S. 11 (4) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
- Loss of eligibility (Art. 26 (4) and (5), and 141 (c) of the Federal Constitutional Law, S. 2 (1) (3.), (2), (3), (5), and (6) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
- Loss of mandate for incompatibilities (Art. 59 and 141 (c) of the Federal Constitutional Law, S. 2 (1) (4.) and (4) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council, S. 9 and 10 of the Incompatibility Law)
- Loss of mandate through election petition (Art. 141 (1) (a) and (e) and (2) of the Federal Constitutional Law, S. 2 (7) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council; see also Validation of mandates)
- General procedure (Art. 141 (1) of the Federal Constitutional Law)
STATUS OF MEMBERS
Rank in hierarchy · Within Parliament:
1. The President
2. The Second President
3. The Third President
4. The Chairpersons of committees
5. The Deputy Chairpersons of committees
6. The secretaries of committees
Indemnities, facilities and services · Official passport (S. 1 (2) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council); diplomatic passport if requested
· Basic salary (S. 2, 3, and 5 of the Bundesbezügegesetz): The basic salary of 8,160 euros (as of July 2008) is paid 14 times a year according to the following percentages:
Members: 100 per cent (i.e. 8,160 euros)
Speaker: 210 per cent (i.e. about 17,000 euros)
Leader of a parliamentary party: 170 per cent (i.e. about 13,800 euros)
· No exemption from tax for basic salary. The allowances (see Travel and transport) are tax exempt.
· Pension scheme (Pensionskassenvorsorgegesetz)
· Other facilities:
(a) Secretariat (S. 10 (1) of the Bundesbezügegesetz, see also Travel and transport)
(b) Assistants (Art. 30 (3) to (6) of the Constitution, Parlaments-mitarbeitergesetz)
(c) Official car for the Presidents (S. 9 (1) of the Bundesbezügegesetz)
(d) Postal and telephone services
(e) Travel and transport (S. 10 (1) and (2), and 11 of the Bundesbezügegesetz)
Obligation to declare personal assets Yes
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary non-accountability · The concept does exist (Art. 57 (1) of the Constitution, S. 10 (1) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council).
· Parliamentary non-accountability applies to words spoken and written by MPs both within and outside Parliament.
· Derogations: responsibility to the National Council for statements, whether oral or in writing, made in the exercise of the MP's functions (see Discipline - offence or insult (S. 102 of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council))
· Non-accountability takes effect (on the day when the mandate begins) and offers ( It does not offer), after the expiry of the mandate, protection against prosecution for opinions expressed during the exercise of the mandate.
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary inviolability · The concept does exist (Art. 57 (2) of the Constitution, S. 10 (2) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council).
· It applies only to criminal proceedings, covers all offences and protects MPs only from arrest and from their homes being searched.
· Derogations: in cases of flagrante delicto, MPs can be arrested (Art. 57 (2) and (5) of the Constitution, S. 10 (2) and (5) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council). Legal action can be taken if it is manifestly not connected with the political activity of the MP (Art. 57 (3) of the Constitution, S. 10 (3) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council).
· Parliamentary inviolability does not prevent MPs from being called as witnesses before a judge or tribunal.
· Protection is provided from the start to the end of the mandate (Art. 57 (6) of the Constitution, S. 10 (6) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
· Parliamentary immunity (inviolability) can be lifted (Art. 57 (2) of the Constitution, S. 10 (2) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council):
- Competent authority: the National Council
- Procedure (Art. 57 (4) of the Constitution, S. 10 (4) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council).
· Parliament can suspend the prosecution and/or detention of one of its members in cases of flagrante delicto (Art. 57 (5) of the Constitution, S. 10 (5) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council).
- Competent authority: the National Council; the corresponding Standing Committee (during recess)
- Procedure (Art. 57 (5) of the Constitution, S. 10 (5) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)

EXERCISE OF THE MANDATE
Training · There is no training/initiation process on parliamentary practices and procedures for MPs.
· There is no handbook of parliamentary procedure.
Participation in the work of the Parliament · It is compulsory for MPs to be present at plenary sittings and committee meetings (S. 11 (1) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council; see also S. 11 (2) to (4) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council).
· Penalties foreseen in case of failure to fulfil this obligation (S. 2 (1) (2.) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council): loss of mandate (for the procedure, see Loss of mandate for absence)
· Body competent to judge such cases/to impose penalties (Art. 141 (c) of the Federal Constitutional Law): the Constitutional Court
Discipline · The rules governing discipline within Parliament are contained in S. 13 (2) and (3), and 101 to 104 of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council.
· Disciplinary measures foreseen:
- Warning for irrelevance (S. 101 (1) and 103 (1) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
- Withdrawal of the right to speak (S. 101 (2), 102 (2), and 104 of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
- Call to order (S. 102 (1), and 103 of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
- Interruption (S. 102 (2), and 104 of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
- Non-recognition for the rest of the sitting (S. 102 (3) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
- Suspension of the sitting (S. 13 (3) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
· Specific cases:
- Offence or insult (S. 102 of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council): call to order, interruption, with-drawal of the right to speak, eventually with non-recognition for the rest of the sitting
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties (S. 13 (2) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council): the President
· Procedure (S. 101 to 103 (1), and 104 of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council)
Code (rules) of conduct · This concept does not exist in the country's juridical system but there are some relevant legal provisions (Art. 59 and 141 (c) of the Federal Constitutional Law, S. 2 (1) (4.) and (4) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council, S. 9 and 10 of the Incompatibility Law). For the declaration of interests, see Obligation to declare personal assets.
· Penalties foreseen for violation of the rules of conduct (S. 2 (1) (4.) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council): loss of mandate (incompatibilities)
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties: the Constitutional Court
· Procedure (Art. 141 (c) of the Federal Constitutional Law, S. 2 (4) of the Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council, S. 9 and 10 of the Incompatibility Law).
Relations between MPs and pressure group · There are no legal provisions in this field.

This page was last updated on 6 August 2014
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