Federal Law on the Rules of Procedure of the National Council
Rules of Procedure Law of 1975
Promulgations: BGBl. [Federal Law Gazette] No. 410/1975 as amended in BGBl. Nos 302/1979, 353/1986, 720/1988, 569/1993, 438/1996 and BGBl. I Nos 131/1997, 163/1998, 29/2005, 31/2009, 11/2010, 12/2010, 114/2011, 66/2012, 31/2013, 131/2013, 132/2013, 6/2014, 99/2014, 62/2015 and 41/2016
I. Opening and Constitution of the National Council
§ 1. (1) The Federal Election Board shall issue to each Member of the National Council after his/her election, or after his/her appointment as a substitute member, a Letter of Credence which shall be deposited with the Parliamentary Administration.
(2) The Parliamentary Administration shall issue an official pass bearing his/her photograph to each Member whose letter of credence has been deposited.
§ 2. (1) A Member of the National Council shall lose his/her seat
1. if s/he fails to take the official oath, or fails to take the oath in the form required in § 4 below, or makes reservations or imposes conditions under which s/he is willing to take the oath;
2. if s/he delays taking his/her seat for 30 days or remains absent from the sittings of the National Council for 30 days without valid reason (§ 11 (4)) recognised as such by the National Council and has failed to obey the President's order addressed to him/her publicly and before the National Council to appear or justify his/her absence within a further period of 30 days;
3. if s/he ceases to be eligible after having been elected;
4. under the circumstances defined in §§ 9 and 10 of the Incompatibility and Transparency Law, BGBl. No. 330/1983.
(2) The President shall, when notified of one of the cases defined in (1) 1 and 2 above, so inform the National Council, which shall decide by a simple majority on a motion provided for in Article 141 (1) of the Federal Constitutional Law (B-VG), which decision shall be prepared by the Main Committee.
(2a) When notified of a case as defined in (1) 3 above, the President shall without delay so inform the Second and Third Presidents, as well as the National Council in its next sitting. The President shall subsequently, after consultation with the members of the President’s Conference, file an application under Art. 141 (1) c B-VG with the Constitutional Court within four weeks. If the President is the subject of the application, his duties shall be discharged as provided in § 15.
(2b) If the President fails to perform his duties as defined in (2a) above, the Second or Third President shall without delay inform the National Council. The National Council shall, within four weeks, decide by a simple majority on the motion provided for in Art. 141 (1) c B-VG, which decision shall be prepared by the Main Committee. The President shall file an application with the Constitutional Court on behalf of the National Council.
(2c) If the National Council fails to take a decision as provided in (2b) above, or the President fails to perform his duty of filing an application as set forth in (2b) above, one third of the Members shall have the right to file an application under Art. 141 (1) c B-VG with the Constitutional Court.
(3) If the National Council takes a decision under (2) above, the President shall file an application with the Constitutional Court on behalf of the National Council.
(4) In cases under (1) 4. above, the procedure shall be as provided for in § 10 of the Incompatibility and Transparency Law.
(5) After receipt of the decision of the Constitutional Court by which the member in question is declared to have lost his/her seat, the President of the National Council shall so inform the person so deprived of his/her seat. The loss of seat shall enter into force on the day following the receipt by the President of the National Council of the decision of the Constitutional Court by which the seat is declared lost. The President shall inform Members of the court decision at the next sitting of the National Council.
(6) The provisions of (5) shall apply mutatis mutandis to cases in which the Constitutional Court has granted an application contesting an election result on grounds of an ineligible person having been declared elected or an eligible person having been unlawfully declared ineligible.
(7) In cases under Art. 141 (2) B-VG the Members concerned shall only lose their seats at the time the letters of credence of the Members elected in the repeated election are deposited with the Parliamentary Administration.
(8) The proceedings under Art. 141 (1) e B-VG shall be governed, mutatis mutandis, by the provisions of (2), (3) and (5) above.
(9) If one of the Presidents is the subject of proceedings under (1) above, he shall not preside over the proceedings on the respective items of the agenda. The pertaining duties shall be discharged as provided in § 15.
(10) If a Member resigns his/her seat, said resignation shall take effect at the time of receipt by the President of the National Council of the Federal Election Board's notification to that effect, unless the resigning member has stipulated a later effective date.
§ 3. (1) The newly elected National Council shall be convened by the Federal President within 30 days of its election.
(2) The sitting shall be opened by the President of the former National Council, who shall chair the sitting until the new President has been elected.
(3) The chairperson shall appoint four Members to act temporarily as Secretaries.
§ 4. (1) The chairperson shall make a roll-call of Members, who shall take their oath of office by pronouncing the words "Ich gelobe" ("I promise"), swearing to faithfully uphold the Republic, to faithfully respect the Constitutional Laws and all other enactments at all times, and to perform his/her duties conscientiously.
(2) Members taking their seats at a later date shall take their oaths on taking their seats.
§ 5. (1) All Members having taken their oaths, the National Council shall elect from amongst its Members the President as well as the Second and Third Presidents.
(2) Following the election of the Presidents, five Secretaries and at least three Whipsshall be elected.
(3) All officers elected shall serve for the entire term of office of the National Council.
§ 6. (1) The Presidents and the Main Committe, or if the National Council has been dissolved under Art. 29 (1) B-VG, the Permanent Sub-Committee of the Main Committee instead of the latter, shall remain in office until the newly elected National Council has elected the new Presidents and Main Committee.
(2) If the elected Presidents are prevented from the exercise of their functions or if their term of office is terminated, the sitting shall be chaired by the oldest Member present at the venue of the National Council, on condition that said Member is not prevented from exercising his/her functions and is a member of a party which was represented among the Presidents of the National Council at the time when the elected Presidents were prevented or their terms of office expired; said Member shall forthwith convene the National Council and, after opening the sitting, proceed to the election of three chairpersons who shall assume the functions of the prevented Presidents or, in case the term of office of the Presidents has expired, the election of the President.
(3) If said Member fails to perform this duty within eight days of the time when the Presidents were prevented or their term of office lapsed, the afore-mentioned rights shall pass on to the next senior Member who satisfies the conditions mentioned above.
(4) The chairpersons so elected shall remain in office until at least one of the Presidents prevented from exercising his/her functions is capable of resuming office.
§ 7. (1) At the beginning of each legislative period, but not later than one month after the day of the first meeting of the National Council, Members who belong to the same political party that participated in the election may form a - single - Parliamentary Group. If Members belonging to the same political party that participated in the election announce that more than one Parliamentary Group has been formed, the numerically strongest such group shall be recognised as a Parliamentary Group. If two or more such groups have an equal number of members, the status of Parliamentary Group shall be conveyed upon the one group that has in its ranks the Member ranking first in the Party’s federal slate.
(2) Members belonging to different political parties that participated in the election may, at the beginning of a legislative period but not later than one month after the day of the first meeting of the National Council, only form a Parliamentary Group if the National Council so agrees.
(3) For the formation and continued existence of a Parliamentary Group a minimum of five Members shall be required.
(4) The results of the constitution of a Parliamentary Group and any changes in its composition shall be immediately communicated to the President.
§ 8. (1) The Presidents and Parliamentary Group chairpersons shall form the President's Conference. The Parliamentary Group chairpersons may delegate other members to the President's Conference.
(2) The President's Conference shall act as a deliberative organ. Its duties shall above all include the presentation of proposals for the execution of programmes of work, the determination of the agendas and times of National Council sittings, the referral of items of business to the committees, the coordination of committee meetings and for the cultivation of international parliamentary relations.
(3) The following matters shall under any circumstances be subject to preliminary deliberation by the President’s Conference:
1. the internal rules for the Parliament Buildings (§ 14 (1)),
2. the use of the Shapley procedure (§ 32 (2)),
3. the list of persons eligible for election as Procedural Judge, Procedural Advocate as well as their deputies under § 7 (1) of Annex 1: “Rules of Procedure for Parliamentary Investigating Committees”,
4. the slate of nominees to be presented to the Rules of Procedure Committee for election as Procedural Judge, Procedural Advocate as well as their deputies under § 7 (2).
(4) In addition, the dispositions of the President regarding
1. the list of Members (§ 14 (7)),
2. the number of requests under § 28b (4) and § 31c (13),
3. the restriction of speaking time (§ 57 (2)2 and (3)),
4. the order in which Members shall be given the floor (§ 60 (8)),
5. the time of the debate under § 81 (2),
6. the omission of question time (§ 94 (4)),
7. the decisions under § 6 (2), § 10 (1 and 3), § 13 (1) 6 and (2) 2 of the Federal Act on the Information Rules of the National and Federal Councils (Information Rules Act), BGBl. I No. 102/2014,
8. the provisions under §§ 26 and 27 Information Rules Act
shall also be subject to preliminary deliberation by the President’s Conference.