GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Government: Federal republic with nine provinces, each
with own assembly and government. 1920 constitution, revised
1929, forms constitutional basis of government. Government
consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
President head of state, elected every six years by popular vote.
Executive headed by chancellor (prime minister) and cabinet,
which reflect party composition of parliament. Legislative power
vested in bicameral parliament consisting of Nationalrat
(National Council) and Bundesrat (Federal Council). Nationalrat
primary legislative power, with 183 popularly elected members;
Bundesrat represents the provinces with sixty-three members
elected by provincial assemblies. Independent judiciary.
Legal System: Supreme Court for civil and criminal
cases, Administrative Court for cases involving administrative
agencies, and Constitutional Court for constitutional cases. Four
higher provincial courts, seventeen provincial and district
courts, and numerous local courts.
Politics: Dominated by Social Democratic Party of
Austria (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs--SPÖ) and
Austrian People's Party (Österreichs Volkspartei--ÖVP);
government coalition of these two parties since 1987. Freedom
Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs--FPÖ) gaining
strength despite split in early 1993 with formation of The
Liberal Forum (Das Liberale Forum). Environmentalists also
represented in parliament.
Foreign Relations: Founding member of European Free
Trade Association (EFTA) and member of United Nations (UN) and
European Economic Area (EEA). Admission into European Union (EU)
expected in January 1995.
Data as of December 1993