Government of Austria

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The Austrian Federal Government (German: Österreichische Bundesregierung) is a collective body that exercises executive power in the Republic of Austria. It is composed of the Chancellor, who is leader of the government, the Vice-Chancellor, and senior ministers. The President and the Government together form the executive branch of Austria.


Since the 1929 reform of the Austrian Constitution, all members of the Federal Government are appointed by the Austrian Federal President (according to Article 70 of the Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz (B-VG)), who nevertheless has to seek a consensus with the National Council parliament, since a vote of no confidence would immediately enforce their dismissal. In practical terms usually the leader of the strongest political party, who ran as "chancellor candidate" in the parliamentary election, is asked to become Federal Chancellor; although there have been exceptions in the past. The nominations of the ministers takes place at the suggestion of the Chancellor, though the President is permitted to withhold his or her approval. Likewise, the President may dismiss the Chancellor and/or the whole government at any time. However, a new government must be formed by the parties that control parliament.


Cabinet room in the Austrian Chancellery

The government is convened for frequently scheduled meetings. When formally convened as such, the government is termed the Council of Ministers (German: Ministerrat), which is equivalent to the word "cabinet". The Chancellor presides over cabinet meetings as first among equals without decisional authority, regardless of his right of proposal concerning the appointment of the government's members by the President. The cabinet adopts resolutions in the presence of at least half of its members and, according to the ruling of the Austrian Constitutional Court, unanimously – in particular the introduction of bills to the National Council. Each federal minister is also responsible for his or her own ministry, and may be supported by one or more state secretaries (junior ministers), who also participate in the cabinet's meetings. State secretaries are not considered members of the government, and have no right to vote during cabinet meetings.

Current government

Main article: Kern government

The incumbent government of Austria is a grand coalition government formed by the left-wing Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) and the right-wing Austrian People's Party (ÖVP). It was appointed on 18 May 2016 by outgoing President Heinz Fischer (SPÖ) upon the resignation of the former Chancellor Werner Faymann after disappointing results of his party in the 2016 Austrian presidential election. Most of the ministers kept their job, however, some decided to step down or were replaced.


First Republic

After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the provisional national assembly of German Austria on 30 October 1918 elected a State Council (Staatsrat) executive, which itself appointed a state government with the Social Democratic politician Karl Renner as head of the State Chancellery. The Renner ministry was composed of representatives of the three main political parties—Social Democrats, the Christian Social Party (CS) and German Nationalists (Greater Germans)—according to the Proporz doctrine. As acting executive body it remained in office until the Constitutional Assembly of the Austrian First Republic on 15 March 1919 elected Renner's second cabinet, a coalition government of Social Democratic and Christian Social ministers.

State Chancellor Renner had signed the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, whereafter his cabinet retired en bloc. Re-elected by the Constitutional Assembly on 17 October 1919, his third cabinet finally was overturned with the break-up of the SPÖ-CS coalition on 7 July 1920. Renner was succeeded by the Christian Social politician Michael Mayr, who with the commencement of the Austria Constitution on 10 November 1920 became first Federal Chancellor of Austria. Mayr and his successors proceeded with the support of the Christian Social Party and the Greater German nationalists, while the Social Democrats remained in opposition.

From 5 March 1933 onwards, the Christian Social chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß kept on ruling by suppression of the National Council parliament. In the course of the Austrian Civil War he brought down the opposition and on 1 May 1934 implemented the authoritarian Federal State of Austria. All parties were banned, except for the Fatherland's Front supporting Dollfuß' Austrofascist government. The Federal Government discontinued with the Anschluss incorporation of Austria into Nazi Germany on 13 March 1938.

Second Republic

On 27 April 1945 a provisional Austrian national unity government, again under a State Chancellor Karl Renner, declared the Anschluss null and void. It prepared the The elections to the Austrian National Council held on 25 November. On 20 December 1945, the Austrian Constitution was officially re-enacted, with ÖVP founder Leopold Figl forming the first post-war Federal Government.

List of cabinets since 1945:

Governments of Austria
Name of GovernmentDuration of GovernmentChancellor Vice-ChancellorParties Involved
RennerApril 27, 1945 – December 20, 1945Karl Renner1N/AÖVP, SPÖ, KPÖ
Figl IDecember 20, 1945 – November 8, 1949Leopold Figl (ÖVP)Adolf Schärf (SPÖ)ÖVP, SPÖ, KPÖ
Figl IINovember 8, 1949 – October 28, 1952Leopold Figl (ÖVP)Adolf Schärf (SPÖ)ÖVP, SPÖ
Figl IIIOctober 28, 1952 – April 2, 1953Leopold Figl (ÖVP)Adolf Schärf (SPÖ)ÖVP, SPÖ
Raab IApril 2, 1953 – June 29, 1956Julius Raab (ÖVP)Adolf Schärf (SPÖ)ÖVP, SPÖ
Raab IIJune 29, 1956 – July 16, 1959Julius Raab (ÖVP)Adolf Schärf (SPÖ), Bruno Pittermann (SPÖ)²ÖVP, SPÖ
Raab IIIJuly 16, 1959 – November 3, 1960Julius Raab (ÖVP)Bruno Pittermann (SPÖ)ÖVP, SPÖ
Raab IVNovember 3, 1960 – April 11, 1961Julius Raab (ÖVP)Bruno Pittermann (SPÖ)ÖVP, SPÖ
Gorbach IApril 11, 1961 – March 27, 1963Alfons Gorbach (ÖVP)Bruno Pittermann (SPÖ)ÖVP, SPÖ
Gorbach IIMarch 27, 1963 – April 2, 1964Alfons Gorbach (ÖVP)Bruno Pittermann (SPÖ)ÖVP, SPÖ
Klaus IApril 2, 1964 – April 19, 1966Josef Klaus (ÖVP)Bruno Pittermann (SPÖ)ÖVP, SPÖ
Klaus IIApril 19, 1966 – April 21, 1970Josef Klaus (ÖVP)Fritz Bock (ÖVP), Hermann Withalm (ÖVP)³ÖVP
Kreisky IApril 21, 1970 – November 4, 1971Bruno Kreisky (SPÖ)Rudolf Häuser (SPÖ)SPÖ
Kreisky IINovember 4, 1971 – October 28, 1975Bruno Kreisky (SPÖ)Rudolf Häuser (SPÖ)SPÖ
Kreisky IIIOctober 28, 1975 – June 5, 1979Bruno Kreisky (SPÖ)Rudolf Häuser (SPÖ), Hannes Androsch (SPÖ)4SPÖ
Kreisky IVJune 5, 1979 – May 24, 1983Bruno Kreisky (SPÖ)Hannes Androsch (SPÖ), Fred Sinowatz (SPÖ)5SPÖ
SinowatzMay 24, 1983 – June 16, 1986Fred Sinowatz (SPÖ)Norbert Steger (FPÖ)SPÖ, FPÖ
Vranitzky IJune 16, 1986 – January 21, 1987Franz Vranitzky (SPÖ)Norbert Steger (FPÖ)SPÖ, FPÖ
Vranitzky IIJanuary 21, 1987 – December 17, 1990Franz Vranitzky (SPÖ)Alois Mock (ÖVP), Josef Riegler (ÖVP)6SPÖ, ÖVP
Vranitzky IIIDecember 17, 1990 – November 29, 1994Franz Vranitzky (SPÖ)Josef Riegler (ÖVP), Erhard Busek (ÖVP)7SPÖ, ÖVP
Vranitzky IVNovember 29, 1994 – March 12, 1996Franz Vranitzky (SPÖ)Erhard Busek (ÖVP), Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP)8SPÖ, ÖVP
Vranitzky VMarch 12, 1996 – January 28, 1997Franz Vranitzky (SPÖ)Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP)SPÖ, ÖVP
KlimaJanuary 28, 1997 – February 4, 2000Viktor Klima (SPÖ)Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP)SPÖ, ÖVP
Schüssel IFebruary 4, 2000 – February 28, 2003Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP)Susanne Riess-Passer (FPÖ)ÖVP, FPÖ
Schüssel IIFebruary 28, 2003 – January 11, 2007Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP)Herbert Haupt (FPÖ), Hubert Gorbach (FPÖ/BZÖ)9ÖVP, FPÖ, BZÖ
GusenbauerJanuary 11, 2007 – December 2, 2008Alfred Gusenbauer (SPÖ)Wilhelm Molterer (ÖVP)SPÖ, ÖVP
Faymann IDecember 2, 2008 – December 16, 2013Werner Faymann (SPÖ)Josef Pröll (ÖVP), Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP)10SPÖ, ÖVP
Faymann IIDecember 16, 2013 – May 17, 2016Werner Faymann (SPÖ)Michael Spindelegger (ÖVP)SPÖ, ÖVP


1) Karl Renner acted only as a supervisor of the provisional government
2) As Adolf Schärf was elected as the President of Austria, Bruno Pittermann acted as the vice-chancellor from May 22, 1957.
3) From January 19, 1968 afterwards, Hermann Withalm acted as the vice-chancellor.
4) Rudolf Häuser acted as the vice-chancellor until September 30, 1976. From October 1, 1976, Hannes Androsch acted as the vice-chancellor.
5) Fred Sinowatz acted as the vice-chancellor from January 20, 1981.
6) Until April 24, 1989, Alois Mock acted as the vice-chancellor. From April 24, 1989, Josef Riegler acted as the vice-chancellor.
7) From July 2, 1991, Erhard Busek acted as the vice-chancellor.
8) From May 4, 1995, Wolfgang Schüssel acted as the vice-chancellor.
9) Until October 20, 2003, Herbert Haupt acted as the vice-chancellor. From October 21, 2003, Hubert Gorbach acted as the vice-chancellor. Until April 17, 2005, Gorbach's party affiliation was FPÖ, then BZÖ.
10) Until April 20, 2011, Josef Pröll acted as the vice-chancellor. From April 21, 2011, Michael Spindelegger acted as the vice-chancellor.
Traditional colours
Austrian People's Party (Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP)
Social Democratic Party of Austria (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs, SPÖ), until 1991: Socialist Party of Austria
Communist Party of Austria (Kommunistische Partei Österreichs, KPÖ)
Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ)
Alliance for the Future of Austria (Bündnis Zukunft Österreich, BZÖ)
Source: Kanzler und Regierungen seit 1945. Federal Chancellery of Austria Web Site. Vienna, Federal Chancellery of Austria 2006. German English
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