Austria Constitution and Administration

By | January 5, 2022

The basis of Austrian constitutional law is the federal constitution of 1 October 1920 (Bundesverfassungsgesetz) voted by the national constituent assembly, after a series of provisional laws. It was in turn followed by other constitutional laws up to the constitutional “Novella” of 30 July 1925 and the more important one of 7 December 1929.

Austria is a federal state (Bundesstaat) made up of the following 9 autonomous countries or provinces (selbständige Länder): Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna, the latter detached from Lower Austria to date from 1 January 1922. The form of government is the democratic republican, the capital is Vienna, seat of the supreme organs of the confederation, the official language is German, subject to the rights recognized by the laws federal to linguistic minorities.

The jurisdiction, both legislative, judicial and administrative, is divided between the confederation (Bund) and the provinces (Länder), i.e. there are matters for which legislation and execution belong to the confederation, others for which legislation belongs to the confederation. and the execution to the provinces, others for which only the general legislation is reserved to the confederation, while the complementary or regulatory one, and furthermore the execution, is left to the provinces, and still others in which both the legislation and the provinces are devolved to the provinces. execution.

According to topschoolsintheusa, the federal legislative function is exercised jointly by the national council (Nationalrat) and the federal council (Bundesrat). The national council is composed of 165 members elected with the system of proportional representation and on the basis of equal direct secret and personal suffrage by citizens of both sexes who have reached the age of twenty: all electors over 24 years of age are eligible.. The normal duration of the legislature is 4 years: up to now the national council could only be updated by its own resolution, while, according to the recent reform, it is the federal president who convenes and updates the national council. The federal council is composed of 50 members sent to it by the provincial diets in a number proportional to that of the citizens of each province: the city of Vienna, the largest, sends 12, Lower Austria 10, Styria 7, the Upper Austria 6 and the other provinces three for each which is the minimum number. There is also the federal assembly (Bundesversammlung) which occurs when the national council and the federal council meet together in public session to deliberate on some more important matters, such as Fr. ex. to rule on a declaration of war.

Any law passed by the national council must be submitted immediately to the federal council, and if the latter has not vetoed it, or having done so, the law is voted again by the national council with a majority of at least half of its members, must be promulgated. If the national council has so decided, the law it has voted on must, before its promulgation, be submitted to a popular referendum (Volksabstimmung). Constitutional laws must be voted by a special majority and overall amendments to the federal constitution must also be submitted to the national referendum.

The president of the confederation, who until now had been elected by the federal assembly, will be, after the constitutional reform of 7 December 1929, directly elected by the electoral body. He must be over 35 years old and not belong to reigning families or those who have reigned: he remains in office for 4 years, and can be immediately re-elected only once. The federal government is made up of the chancellor, who presides over it, the vice chancellor and an adequate number of ministers: it will no longer be, as up to now, appointed by the national council, but appointed and revoked by the head of state whose powers, as in this, as well as in other respects, have been extended by the most recent reform of the constitution.

In the provinces the legislative function is exercised by the provincial diets: the provincial government is made up of the governor of the province (Landeshauptmann), the deputy governor and other members in varying numbers (Landesräte).

The provinces are divided into administrative districts and decentralized communities; the latter are either municipalities (Ortsgemeinde), grouped into rural districts (Landbezirke), or autonomous districts (Gebietsgemeinde or Stadtbezirke). The organs of the municipality are the elective municipal council and the municipal office, made up of the burgomaster and two councilors.

The administration of justice is exercised: by the supreme court based in Vienna, by three provincial higher courts, based in Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck, by 15 provincial and district courts and by 238 district courts. It is worth noting the already great and growing similarity between Austrian and German law.

Austria Administration