Supreme Court of Justice (Austria)
The Supreme Court of Justice in Austria is the final court of appeal for criminal and civil lawsuits other than administrative. The court deals with service-related complaints by jurists against the judiciary and with disciplinary complaints against jurists. In addition to its adjudicative responsibilities, the court is charged with running the Republic's official public law library and with publishing appraisals of draft legislation presented to the National Council by the government. In spite of its name, the court is not a supreme court in the strict sense of the term: it has no powers of judicial review, does not adjudicate on liability claims against the Republic and its bureaucracy, does not handle impeachments of elected officials, does not resolve demarcation conflicts; the court does not have a fixed number of members. As of the early 21st century, there are between fifty and sixty justices on the court; the responsibility for appointing Supreme Court justices is vested in the President of Austria, but the President can and does delegate this task to the minister of justice.
The minister picks from a shortlist of three nominees provided by the court itself. The Supreme Court of Justice convenes in the Palace of Justice in Vienna; the Austrian judiciary is divided into general courts of public law. The courts of public law supervise the other two branches of government. One of its limbs, the administrative court system, reviews the legality of administrative acts, its other limb, the Constitutional Court, adjudicates on liability claims against the Republic, its provinces, its municipalities, demarcation conflicts between courts or between courts and bureaucrats, complaints regarding the constitutionality of statutes or the legality of ordinances, election complaints, complaints regarding the conduct of elected officials and political appointees in office. The general courts handle all remaining civil cases and all criminal trials as well as non-adversary proceedings such as inheritance cases or legal guardianship matters; the hierarchy of general courts has four levels: district, higher regional, supreme.
For most cases, original jurisdiction lies with one of the 115 district courts. Some cases are first tried before one of the 18 regional courts and can be appealed to the relevant higher regional court; the four higher regional courts and the Supreme Court of Justice do not have original jurisdiction. The constitutional right to an appeal is taken in Austria. Any party to any trial before a general court can file an appeal on facts and law. If the case is a civil case, the appellate court first checks whether the trial court has committed procedural errors. If no, or if the case is criminal, the appellate court conducts what is a retrial itself − the appellate trial does not review questions of law but questions of fact, assessing evidence and questioning witnesses. In addition to the appeal on facts and law against the verdict of the trial court, an appeal at law can be filed against the verdict of the appellate court. In criminal cases, appeals at law that are not frivolous are handled in public hearings.
A successful appeal at law not just overturns but complete erases the verdict of the appellate court, sending the case down the ladder again. Verdicts of trial courts − although not of appellate courts − that result from the trial court's application of an unconstitutional statute or an illegal ordinance can additionally be fought with extraordinary appeals at law to the Constitutional Court; the Supreme Court of Justice hears appeals at law against verdicts of lower appellate courts. In addition to its role in public trials, the court deals with some of the Austrian judiciary's internal disputes, it hears, as the court of original jurisdiction, complaints lodged by judges against the bureaucracy and disciplinary complaints against certain senior judges and prosecutors. It has appellate jurisdiction in disciplinary proceedings against lower-ranking judges and prosecutors and notaries. Decisions handed down by the court are final. In addition to its adjudicative functions, the court is charged with publishing appraisals of draft legislation presented to the National Council by the government.
The court does not have the authority to veto legislation and neither does it have the soft power to make draft bills politically untenable. Austria is a parliamentary democracy in which most bills originate not with individual legislators but with the cabinet. Formal expert opinions on draft bills offered by political lobbying groups, professional associations, regional governments, various arms of the national bureaucracy are a routine part
Vice-Chancellor of Austria
The Vice-Chancellor of Austria is a member of the Federal Government and the deputy of the Chancellor. The current Vice Chancellor of Austria is Heinz-Christian Strache, in office since 2017. Art. 69 of the Constitution of Austria states: The Vice-Chancellor stands in for the Federal Chancellor in his complete field of functions. If both Federal Chancellor and Vice Chancellor are hindered, the Federal President appoints a member of the government to represent the Federal Chancellor. In practice, the Vice-Chancellor is the leading member of the junior party within the current coalition government the party chairman. If only one party is represented in the government, the Vice Chancellor is the Chancellor's presumed successor. Austria annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938. Independence restored in 1945. Chancellor of Austria
Thomas Klestil was an Austrian diplomat and politician. He served as President of Austria in 1992 and was re-elected into office in 1998. Born in Vienna to a working class family—his father worked for the tramway—Klestil went to school in Landstraße where he made friends with Joe Zawinul, he studied at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration and received his doctorate in 1957. After entering the civil service he worked in Austria as well as abroad, for example for OECD. In 1969, he established the Austrian consulate-general in Los Angeles, where he befriended Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fluent in English, Klestil was the Austrian Ambassador to the United Nations and Ambassador to the United States prior to his election as president. After being nominated by the conservative Austrian People's Party to run for Federal President, he succeeded Kurt Waldheim on 8 July 1992. However, in the course of his two terms of office, Klestil's alienation from his own party became obvious, so much so that there was open antagonism between Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel and Klestil when, in 2000, the latter had to swear in the newly formed coalition government with Jörg Haider's Austrian Freedom Party.
Klestil, who during his election campaign had vowed to be an "active" president criticized the Austrian government and, in an interview with a Swiss daily given in 2003, stated that, theoretically speaking, it was in his power to dismiss the government any time he found it necessary to do so. As a matter of fact the Austrian Constitution does give far-reaching powers to the Federal President, but these had never been exercised by any of Klestil's predecessors. Klestil gave his support to the development of Kiryat Mattersdorf, a Haredi Jewish neighborhood in northern Jerusalem founded by the Mattersdorfer Rav, Rabbi Shmuel Ehrenfeld, in 1959 in memory of the Siebengemeinden of Burgenland that were destroyed in the Holocaust, Mattersdorf being one of them. Ehrenfeld's son, Rabbi Akiva Ehrenfeld, who served as president of the neighborhood, established close ties with the Austrian government to obtain funding for several institutions, including a kindergarten and the Neveh Simcha nursing home.
Following Klestil's official state visit to Israel in 1994, which included a side tour of Kiryat Mattersdorf, Klestil hosted Ehrenfeld at an official reception at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna on 24 January 1995. Klestil, who had three grown children by his first marriage, divorced his wife shortly after his successful election campaign of 1992 and subsequently, in 1998, married Margot Löffler. In 1996 he was taken ill but recovered. On 5 July 2004, three days before he was to leave office, he suffered a heart attack or heart failure caused by his long-term lung problems, was left in critical condition, he died on 6 July at 23:33 local time at the AKH in Vienna from multiple organ failure. On 10 July 2004, he was interred in the presidential crypt at Vienna's Central Cemetery. Among the notable dignitaries who attended his funeral were Russian President Vladimir Putin, former Austrian President and UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim, the Austrian-born Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Klestil was the fifth President of Austria to die in office since 1950. Austria: Great Star of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria Italy: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic Netherlands: Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion United Kingdom: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George Norway: Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav Sweden: Knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim France: Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour Poland: Order of the White Eagle Slovakia: Grand Cross of the Order of the White Double Cross Romania: Sash of the Order of the Star of Romania Croatia: Knight Grand Cross of the Grand Order of King Tomislav Grand Gold Medal with Star for services to the city of Vienna Algeria: Order of the Athir Official homepage of the Austrian president Biography, time table & speeches in German
Federal Council (Austria)
The Federal Council is the upper house of the Austrian Parliament, representing the nine States of Austria on federal level. As part of a bicameral legislature alongside of the National Council, it can be compared with an upper house or a senate. In fact, however, it is far less powerful than the National Council: although it has to approve every new law decided for by this "lower" chamber, the latter can—in most cases—overrule the Federal Council's refusal to approve; the Bundesrat has its seat at the Austrian Parliament Building in Vienna, in a conclave of the former Herrenhaus chamber of the Imperial Council. During a major renovation of the Parliament Building the Federal Council meets in the Hofburg; as the Constitution of Austria draws a strict distinction between federal and state legislation, its Article 42 provides the Bundesrat only with the right to veto federal laws passed by the National Council. Moreover in most cases a Federal Council's veto is just suspensive, meaning the National Council can override it, passing the law again by ordinary resolution of at least half of its members.
Therefore, the decisions of the Bundesrat can only delay legislation. In the following cases, the Federal Council's approval is mandatory: Constitutional laws or regulations limiting the competencies of the federal states Laws relating to the rights of the Federal Council itself Treaties concerning the jurisdiction of the federal states. Since its inauguration on 10 November 1920, the deputies of Bundesrat have never achieved the status of a counterbalance in relation to the National Council. Over the decades the role of the Federal Council as a mere adjunct of the Austrian parliament has led to several discussions upon regulatory reforms, towards an actual representation of the states' governments modeled on the German Bundesrat or the complete abolition of the second chamber. So far, the concept has been maintained as a manifestation of Austria's federal system; the Federal Council and the National Council, if in joint session, form a third parliamentary body: the Federal Assembly that convenes for the oath of office of the President of Austria.
The 61 members of the Federal Council are elected according to proportional representation by each of the Austrian states' legislatures for 5- to 6-year terms. The composition of the Bundesrat therefore changes after every state election and the distribution of seats in the Austrian Landtage; the second largest faction of the particular Landtag has the right to designate at least one deputy. The number of representatives delegated by each Bundesland ranges between three and twelve, depending on its population as ascertained by a regular census; the deputies may ally along party lines and form parliamentary groups, which have to meet a quorum of five seats, if not admitted by particular resolution. The MPs of the Austrian People's Party, the Social Democratic Party of Austria, the Freedom Party of Austria form political groups in the Bundesrat: The President of the Federal Council is nominated by the largest party of each state in half-yearly intervals; the Federal Council is made up of 2 vice-presidents.
Federal Assembly Politics of Austria National Council
Alexander Van der Bellen
Alexander Van der Bellen is the current President of Austria. He served as a professor of economics at the University of Vienna, after joining politics, as the spokesman of the Austrian Green Party; as a descendant of the Russian aristocratic von der Bellen family of patrilineal Dutch ancestry, he was born in Austria to Russian and Estonian parents who were refugees of Stalinism, became a naturalised citizen of Austria together with his parents in 1958. He was a member of the National Council representing the Green Party there from 1994 to 2012, served as both leader of the party as well as its parliamentary group, he ran as a nominally independent candidate supported by the Greens in the 2016 presidential election, finished second out of six in the first round before winning the second round against Norbert Hofer, a member of the Freedom Party. On 1 July, before he was due to be sworn into office, the results of the second round of voting were annulled by the Constitutional Court due to absentee votes being improperly counted too early, requiring the election to be re-held.
On 4 December 2016, he won the ensuing election, taking 54% of the vote. Van der Bellen has described himself as a centrist liberal and supports green and social liberal policies; as discussed in his 2015 book, he is supportive of the European Union and advocates European federalism. During the presidential election, he appealed to the political centre and was endorsed by the leaders of both the Social Democratic Party and the conservative People's Party. Van der Bellen is the second green president of a European Union country and the first to be directly elected by popular vote. In the 1700s Van der Bellen's patrilineal ancestors emigrated from the Netherlands into the Russian Empire. During the Russian Civil War part of his family escaped from the Bolsheviks and migrated to the newly independent Republic of Estonia. Before this Van der Bellen's grandfather Aleksander von der Bellen served as the head of the civilian regional government of Pskov. Claiming Dutch origins the family changed its name from „von der Bellen“ to „Van der Bellen“.
In 1931 Van der Bellen's father, called Alexander, married his Estonian mother Alma in Kihelkonna in Saaremaa, on the elder Van der Bellen obtained citizenship of Estonia. In June 1940, as a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact Estonia was invaded by the Soviet Army and annexed by the USSR. Subsequently, in February or March 1941 Van der Bellen's father and older sister Vivian-Diana moved to the national socialist German Reich. Van der Bellen's father was under the threat of repression by the Soviet secret service NKVD because of his origins and occupation as an international bank manager. Via Laugszargen and a German resettlement camp in Werneck at Würzburg, Van der Bellen's parents moved to Vienna, where their son Alexander was born in 1944 and baptised evangelically; as the Red Army approached Vienna, the family escaped to the Kaunertal in Tyrol, where his father became active as a businessman again. In 1954, after completing primary school in Innsbruck, Van der Bellen started attending the Akademisches Gymnasium Innsbruck where he graduated in 1962 with his Matura.
Until this time Van der Bellen had Estonian citizenship like his parents, obtaining Austrian citizenship around 1958. According to Van der Bellen himself, he did not complete the mandatory service in the Bundesheer, he underwent a Musterung twice, the first one resulting in his being rated as unfit. However, he passed the second one, he received several respites during his studies and after his marriage. After that Van der Bellen was no long summoned for service, due to his subsequent professorship. After receiving his Matura Van der Bellen started studying economics at the University of Innsbruck, he completed his studies in 1966 as Diplom-Volkswirt. With his dissertation Kollektive Haushalte und gemeinwirtschaftliche Unternehmungen: Probleme ihrer Koordination he was awarded the title of Dr. rer. oec in December 1966. From 1968 to 1971 he served as a scientific assistant of Clemens August Andreae at the public finance institution of the University of Innsbruck, from 1972 to 1974 as research fellow at the international institution for management and administration of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
He established a friendship with Turkish economist Murat R. Sertel, with who he worked on decision and preference theories and on published several articles and discussion papers. In 1976 Van der Bellen was appointed extraordinary university professor at the Innsbruck University, where he remained until 1980. During this time he moved to Vienna to study and research from 1977 to 1980 at the Verwaltungsakademie des Bundes. From 1980 to 1999 he was extraordinary university professor for economics at the University of Vienna. Between 1990 and 1994 he there became dean of the faculty for economics at University of Vienna. In October 1999 he became parliamentary leader of the Greens in the National Council and thus resigned as university professor in January 2009. Van der Bellen retired in February 2009. Van der Bellen's research focused on planning and financing procedures in the public sector, infrastructure financing, fiscal policy, public expenditure, government regulation policy, public undertakings, environmental and transport policy.
He has published in professional journals such
In Austrian constitutional law, a minister is a member of the national cabinet. Most ministers are responsible for a specific area of Austrian public administration and stand at the head of a specific department of the Austrian bureaucracy. Most ministers control a ministry. A minister is the supreme executive organ within his or her area of responsibility: ministers do not take orders from either the president or the chancellor; the Federal Constitutional Law, the backbone of the Austrian constitution, states that "the government consists of the chancellor, the vice chancellor, the other ministers". The Austrian general public does not think of the chancellor and the vice chancellor as "ministers". In the popular media and in everyday language in general and vice chancellor are always referred to by their specific titles. Additionally, the state secretaries are sometimes referred to as members of the government. However, "minister" and "member of government" are synonymous. Speaking, a minister is responsible for a specific topic area of public administration: the minister of the interior is responsible e.g. for public safety and for the correct conduct of elections and plebiscites.
The minister is assisted by a department although not always, called a ministry. Ministers can be given control of more than one ministry. Within his or her area of responsibility, the minister is the supreme executive organ, he or she is vested with management authority, meaning the minister is in charge of setting policy, of most personnel decisions, of the internal governance and discipline of their respective departments. He or she has injunction authority, the power to issue orders to the civil servants in their respective departments that require or prohibit specific substantive acts and decisions. Both powers follow from the postulate. There are departures from this general principle, however; some subdivisions of ministerial bureaucracies can be declared "independent" by law. An important part of the responsibilities of most ministers is personnel decisions. Austria distinguishes between two basic types of civil servants: a Vertragsbediensteter is a regular employee subject to regular labor law.
The class of civil servants of Beamter rank, the Beamtenstand, includes judges, military officers, police officers, full professors at public universities, all senior administrators. In the past, it used to include most other government workers, from local revenue office clerks to school teachers; as a general rule, the responsibility for appointing national-level Beamte is vested in the president. The constitution permits the president to delegate most of these appointments to the relevant ministers, however. Appointments of members of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Administrative Court have to be made by the president but appointments of the benches of general courts, for example, can be delegated to the minister of justice. Presidents make liberal use of their ability to delegate personnel decisions. With the exception of members of top courts, principals of public secondary schools, a few handfuls of top-level ministry bureaucrats and army brass, Beamte are appointed by ministers.
Another power the president can and does delegate to ministers is the right to conclude international treaties. While every minister is a one-person supreme executive organ within his or her designated topic area, there are several types of decisions with respect to which the supreme executive organ is the cabinet as a whole. Exercising the powers vested in the cabinet requires a formal resolution passed in a formal plenary session. Informally, the body of ministers meeting to discharge the collective responsibilities of the cabinet is called the Council of Ministers; the term is colloquial. A session of the Council of Ministers is a session of the cabinet. Prospective ministers must be eligible for election to the National Council. In essence, this means they need to be Austrian nationals, need to be at least 18 years of age, cannot have lost the right to stand as a candidate as a result of a criminal conviction. Speaking, Austria does not strip
2013 Austrian legislative election
Legislative elections were held in Austria on 29 September 2013. For this election, the Social Democratic Party and Austrian People's Party had proposed a reduction in the number of MPs from 183 to 165 as part of austerity measures, but despite overwhelming support from the Austrian populace, the proposals failed to pass in parliament; the government is a grand coalition between Austria's two largest parties, the SPÖ and ÖVP, who rule with the SPÖ's Werner Faymann as Chancellor. Support for both governing parties has fallen marginally since the 2008 election; the Freedom Party and Alliance for the Future of Austria made significant gains in the previous election, but while the FPÖ gained support after the 2008 election, the BZÖ shrank after the death of its founder Jörg Haider and taking a turn toward liberalism. Additionally, nine of the BZÖ's 21 elected members to the National Council changed their party affiliation during the term: five members joined the Team Stronach, while four joined the FPÖ.
Team Stronach, funded by Austrian-Canadian businessman Frank Stronach, has emerged as an anti-euro alternative and started to hurt the FPÖ's standing in the polls. The Greens have solidified their position as the fourth-largest party in opinion polls. Social Democratic Party of Austria Austrian People's Party Freedom Party of Austria Alliance for the Future of Austria The Greens – The Green Alternative Team Stronach NEOS – The New Austria Communist Party of Austria Pirate Party of Austria Christian Party of Austria - in Upper Austria, Styria and Burgenland The Change - in Vienna and Upper Austria Socialist Left Party - in Vienna EU Exit Party - in Vorarlberg Men's Party of Austria - in Vorarlberg Issues included corruption scandals across the main parties and Austria's relative financial stability facing a probable crisis; the losses for the government parties resulted in strong gains for the far right, the election was seen as strong for the far-right and in support of Eurosceptics. In Carinthia, the Freedom Party benefited most from the BZÖ's weakness since Jörg Haider's death in autumn 2008: the FPÖ's share of the vote rose from 7.6% to 17.9%, they became the second strongest party in the state.
In contrast, the state's former leading party BZÖ came fifth, with their share falling from 38.5% to 10.8%, while the SPÖ came first in Carinthia with 32.4%. However, in Styria the FPÖ came first with 24.0%. In the other states no major changes of the leading party occurred; the "grand coalition" of SPÖ and ÖVP retained their majority. While the SPÖ were keen to renew the coalition, the ÖVP considered the possibility of a coalition with the FPÖ and another smaller party. On October 14, the SPÖ and the ÖVP agreed to start coalition talks with each other, on December 16, the second Faymann cabinet was formed by the SPÖ and the ÖVP. Grand coalition Social Democratic Party of Austria Austrian People's Party Freedom Party of Austria The Greens – The Green Alternative Alliance for the Future of Austria Team Stronach Christian Party of Austria Communist Party of Austria EU Withdrawal Party Men's Party of Austria NEOS – The New Austria Pirate Party of Austria Socialist Left Party The Change