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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, 41/2016 and 45/2020

XII. Decisions and Elections

§ 82. (1) Unless otherwise provided below, decisions of the National Council shall require the presence of one third of the Members and the absolute majority of the votes cast.

(2) Requirements other than those indicated in (1) above shall obtain in the following cases:

1. Constitutional laws or constitutional provisions contained in simple laws shall require for adoption the presence of at least half of the Members and a majority of two thirds of the votes cast.

1a. For the approval of the conclusion of State Treaties under Art. 50 (1) [2] B-VG by which the contractual bases of the European Union are changed, the authorisation of the Austrian member of the European Council to approve an initiative under Art. 23i (1) B-VG and the approval of Council decisions establishing new categories of own resources of the European Union under Art. 23i (3) B-VG, of other decisions of the European Council or the Council under Art. 23i (4) B-VG and of decisions of the European Council concerning common defence under Art. 23j (1) B-VG the presence of at least one half of the Members of the National Council and a two-thirds majority of the votes cast shall be required. 

2. The present Federal Law can only be amended in the presence of at least half of the Members and with a majority of two thirds of the votes cast. 

2a. The Information Rules Act can only be amended in the presence of at least half of the Members and with a majority of two thirds of the votes cast. 

3. The reaffirmation of a bill adopted by the National Council against which the Federal Council has raised an objection shall require the presence of half of the Members.

4. A decision of the National Council expressing a vote of no confidence against the Federal Government or individual members thereof shall require the presence of half of the Members.

5. A decision of the National Council charging members of the Federal Government or organs having equal responsibility with violations of the law shall require the presence of more than half of the Members.

6. A decision of the National Council to have the Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung) convened by the Federal Chancellor in accordance with Art. 60 (6) B-VG shall require the presence of at least half of the Members and a majority of two thirds of the votes cast.

7. A bill adopted by the National Council concerning an issue enumerated in Art. 14 (10) and Art. 14a (8) B-VG shall require the presence of at least half of the Members and a majority of two thirds of the votes cast. The same shall also obtain in respect of the approval of the conclusion of state treaties concerning matters enumerated in Art. 14 (10) B-VG.

7a. Decisions of the National Council on changes in national borders under Art. 3 paras 2 and 3 B-VG shall require the presence of at least half of the Members and a two-thirds majority of the votes cast (Art. 3 para 4 B-VG).

8. Furthermore, a majority of two thirds of the votes cast shall be required in cases covered by §§ 44 (2), 49 (5 and 6), 53 (7) and 57 (5) of the present Federal Law.

(3) Elections shall be governed by the provisions of (1) above and § 87.

(4) Constitutional laws and constitutional provisions contained in simple laws as well as fundamental laws and fundamental provisions contained in simple federal laws shall be expressly designated as such.

(5) Note: Cancelled by amendment BGBl. I No. 11/2010

§ 83. The President of the National Council shall, on the basis of the approved Official Records (§ 51), direct the execution and service of decisions taken by the National Council.

§ 84. (1) If the National Council so decides or the majority of Members so demand, any bill adopted by the National Council shall be submitted to a referendum upon conclusion of the procedure pursuant to Art. 42 B-VG but before its authentication by the Federal President.

(2) A motion for such a decision by the National Council may be introduced in the form of a committee motion under § 27 (3) or in the form of a motion to add in the course of the second reading of the bill. The motion shall be put to the vote after the end of the third reading.

§ 85. If one third of the Members so demand, a partial amendment of the Federal Constitution shall be submitted to a referendum upon conclusion of the procedure pursuant to Art. 42 B-VG but before its authentication by the Federal President.

§ 86. (1) In pursuance of Art. 140 (1) B-VG, one third of the Members may demand that a Federal Law in toto or certain passages thereof be declared null and void by the Constitutional Court as being unconstitutional. The demand shall set forth in detail the objections speaking against the constitutionality of the Federal Law in question.

(2) Members who have made a demand in accordance with (1) above shall also appoint one or more authorised persons who shall represent them in the proceedings before the Constitutional Court.

§ 87. (1) Elections in the National Council shall constitute a separate item of the agenda (§ 50 (2)). This provision notwithstanding, the election of a special committee for the purpose of preliminary deliberations on a bill may be moved before said bill is referred by the President or in the course of the first reading of a bill.

(2) As a rule elections shall take place by means of ballots and shall be decided by an absolute majority of the valid votes cast. Balloting shall be secret. The election of committees shall be governed by the provisions of §§ 30, 32 and 33.

(3) The President shall communicate nominations received in writing to the National Council; however, ballots bearing the names of other eligible candidates shall be equally valid.

(4) The President of the Court of Audit, the members of the Ombudsman Board as well as the chairpersons of the Parliamentary Federal Army Commission under § 4 Defence Act shall be elected upon nomination by the Main Committee.

(5) If no absolute majority of the valid votes cast is achieved during the first ballot, a second ballot shall be held. If the second ballot also fails to produce an absolute majority, there shall be a third ballot based on a short list. The candidates placed on the short list shall be those who have obtained the largest number of votes during the second ballot, and their number shall be twice that of the number of persons to be elected. If several candidates have received the same number of votes during the second ballot, the candidates to be shortlisted shall be determined by the drawing of lots. Should the third, short-listed, ballot also result in a tie, the decision shall again be by the drawing of lots.

(6) If none of the nominations receives the necessary majority in the first or second ballot, they may be withdrawn and replaced by a single list of candidates.

(7) If only one list of candidates is presented, the President may propose that it be voted on in accordance with § 66 (1 or 2). If, however, an objection is raised against this proposal, the election shall take place by secret ballot. The President and the Second and Third Presidents shall always be elected by secret ballot. The President may rule that a secret ballot be held if s/he has doubts about the result of an election held under § 66 (1 or 2).

§ 88. (1) In the case of elections by secret ballot the President shall direct in what form Members are to indicate their choice.

(2) The election shall take place by the Members depositing their ballots in the voting box. For this purpose, Members shall be called by name and counted. Those not present when their names are counted shall not be allowed to deposit their ballots thereafter.

(3) If five Members so demand, voting booths shall be used for balloting. The ballot shall take place in the same way as indicated in (2) above, but the Parliamentary Administration shall arrange for each Member to be able, in the voting booth, to fill in the ballot and place it in the envelope without being observed by others. The envelopes and ballots shall be handed to the Members by Parliamentary Administration officials appointed for this purpose before they enter the booths; the envelope shall be placed in the voting box immediately after the Member has left the voting booth.

(4) As soon as the President has declared the ballot closed, the staff members of the Parliamentary Administration appointed for the purpose shall, under the supervision of the Secretaries, count the votes and inform the President of the result. If the number of votes or, in the case covered by (3) above, the number of envelopes does not agree with the number of Members that have actually voted, the ballot shall be repeated if the discrepancy is deemed to be likely to affect the result.

(5) Ballots that do not clearly show the intention of the voter shall be deemed invalid.

(6) The President shall announce the result of the election.