|27th legislative period|
|Founded||10 November 1920|
|Preceded by||Constituent National Assembly|
|29 September 2019|
|Redoute Wing (provisionally) |
Hofburg Imperial Palace, Vienna
The National Council (German: Nationalrat) is one of the two houses of the Austrian Parliament and is frequently referred to as the lower house. The constitution endows the National Council with far more power than the Federal Council.
|This article is part of a series on the|
|Politics of Austria|
The National Council is where Austria's federal legislative authority is concentrated; for a bill to become federal law, it must be resolved upon by this chamber. Bills passed by the National Council are sent to the Federal Council for corroboration. If the Federal Council approves of the bill or simply does nothing for eight weeks, the bill has succeeded. If the Federal Council vetoes the bill, the National Council may still force it into law by essentially just passing it again; a National Council resolution overruling a Federal Council objection merely has to meet a higher quorum than a regular resolution. In other words, the Federal Council does not have any real power to prevent adoption of legislation, the National Council being trivially able to override it. There are three exceptions to this rule:
The approval of the National Council is also required for most of the prerogatives of the Federal Assembly to be exercised. For example, motions to call for a referendum aimed at having the President removed from office by the electorate, and motions to declare war all need a two-thirds majority in the National Council. Only motions to impeach the President can also be from the Federal Council.
The 183 members of the National Council are elected by nationwide popular vote for a term of five years; each Austrian sixteen years or older on the day the election takes place is entitled to one vote. National Council elections are general elections. The voting system aims at party-list proportional representation and uses partially open lists:
In addition to voting for a party list, voters may express preference for one individual candidate in the same party list. This means it is not possible to simultaneously vote for the party list of one party but exert influence on the candidate rankings on the party list of another party. A candidate receiving sufficiently many personal votes can rise in rank on his or her district party list; voters thus have a certain degree of influence as to which particular individual wins which particular seat.
Austria's federal constitution defines Austria as a semi-presidential democracy: the executive branch of government is supposed to be headed by the President, but is also answerable to the National Council. In practice, however, nearly all of the day-to-day work of governing is left to the Chancellor and Cabinet, which are dependent on the confidence of the National Council. The President has the theoretical right to name anyone eligible to serve in the National Council as a minister or Chancellor. However, the National Council's right to sack a minister or the entire cabinet makes it all but impossible for Presidents to appoint a government entirely of their own choosing or keep it in office against the will of the National Council. While the President has the theoretical authority to dissolve a hostile National Council, constitutional convention prevents this power from being exercised.
Austria accordingly functions as a parliamentary democracy: for all intents and purposes, the cabinet is subject to approval by the National Council and is responsible to it, with the president being little more than a figurehead.
A related discrepancy between Austrian constitutional theory and Austrian political practice is that the constitution defines the President of the National Council to be Austria's second highest public official, junior only to the president proper. As a practical matter, the President of the National Council is a representative of rather moderate significance: wielding less power than the president by extension means wielding less power than the Chancellor or even most federal ministers. The President of the National Council thus serves mostly as a moderator of parliamentary debate.
Main article: 2019 Austrian legislative election
|Austrian People's Party||1,789,417||37.5||71||+9|
|Social Democratic Party of Austria||1,011,868||21.2||40||–12|
|Freedom Party of Austria||772,666||16.2||31||–20|
|The Greens – The Green Alternative||664,055||13.9||26||+26|
|NEOS – The New Austria and Liberal Forum||387,124||8.1||15||+5|
|Communist Party of Austria Plus||32,736||0.7||0||0|
|Austrian Beer Party||4,946||0.1||0||New|
|Every Vote Counts!||1,767||0.0||0||0|
|BZÖ Carinthia – Alliance of Patriots||760||0.0||0||New|
|Socialist Left Party||310||0.0||0||0|
|Christian Party of Austria||260||0.0||0||0|
|Source: Austrian Interior Ministry|
|State results in %||ÖVP||SPÖ||FPÖ||Greens||NEOS||JETZT||KPÖ+||Wandel||Others||Turnout|
|Source: Austrian Interior Ministry|