State structure and Political System of Austria
According to topschoolsintheusa, Austria is a democratic republic with a federal state system. The Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional National Assembly on October 1, 1920. It enshrined the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, the principles of equality, the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the separation of justice and administration.
Administrative division. The federation consists of 9 lands (the capital of the state, Vienna, is equated to the land).
The lands are divided into communities in which communal self-government is exercised.
The largest cities: Vienna, Graz (238 thousand people), Linz (203 thousand people), Salzburg (144 thousand people), Innsbruck (118 thousand people). The share of the urban population is 60%.
Principles of public administration. The constitution is based on the principle of representative democracy: all power comes from the people, who exercise it during elections and delegate it to the legislative, executive and judicial bodies.
Bills, which are mainly developed by the government, are discussed and adopted by the National Council by a majority vote with a quorum of 1/3 of the deputies (constitutional laws and regulations, as well as school laws – 2/3 of the votes).
With regard to the legislative process and management, they exercise multilateral control: political – the opposition, legal – the Constitutional Court of Justice, economic – the Accounts Chamber, for violations – the prosecutor’s office.
The head of state is the federal president. He is elected for a term of 6 years (with the possibility of a single re-election) in popular direct equal elections by secret ballot.
The federal president performs mainly representative functions (primarily in the international legal sphere), accredits and appoints ambassadors, appoints and dismisses federal officials, incl. officers. Based on the results of parliamentary elections, he appoints the Federal Chancellor and, on his recommendation, other members of the government. He can dissolve the National Council with the consent of the Bundesrat, dismiss the Federal Chancellor or the entire government (but not individual ministers), although this has never happened in practice. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Federal President – Heinz Fischer (since July 8, 2004), former speaker of the National Council (parliament), who won the presidential election on April 25, 2004. His predecessors since 1945 were K. Renner, T. Körner, A. Scherf, F. Jonas, R.Kirchschleger, K.Waldheim, T.Klestil.
The highest body of legislative power and the organ of popular representation is the bicameral Federal Assembly, consisting of the National Council (NC) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat). Joint meetings of the Federal Assembly are held when the president is sworn in and to decide whether to declare war. It may also call a referendum to remove the president.
Legislative functions are performed by the National Assembly (together with the Bundesrat), elected for 4 years in general direct elections by secret ballot. The leadership of the National Assembly is carried out by the President of the National Assembly, as well as the Second President of the National Assembly and the Third President of the National Assembly. These three presidents form the college and act as federal president when he is unable to do so.
President of the National Assembly – Andreas Kohl (Austrian People’s Party (APN)) (since December 20, 2002).
Since February 2000, a “black-blue” coalition has been in power – the ANP and the APS. As a result of the November 24, 2002 elections, the parliament was formed with 183 deputies.
The second chamber of the Austrian Parliament is the Bundesrat. Its 64 members represent 9 federal states in proportion to their population (for example, Lower Austria – 12, and Vorarlberg and Burgenland – 3 each). Members of the Bundesrat are elected and delegated by the Landtags for 4 or 6 years. The Bundesrat can protest the law, and then the National Council votes again with a larger quorum. The president of the Bundesrat is elected in alphabetical order from each state for a period of six months. The supreme body of executive power is the federal government. Formed on February 28, 2003 from representatives of the ANP and the APS, the government consists of 11 federal ministries: social welfare, generations and consumer protection (Minister Vice-Chancellor H. Haupt, APS); foreign affairs; internal affairs; justice; national defense; finance; economy and labor; agriculture and forestry, environment and water management; health and women’s affairs; transport, innovation and technology; education, science and culture.