Political System

Parliament is one of the core elements of democracy and is linked with the others in a sophisticated system of checks and balances. Each governmental power interacts with Parliament.

The Separation of Powers

A system of checks and balances ensures that each power exercises control over the others. The Separation of Powers recognises three separate and distinct branches: the legislative branch (parliament), the executive branch (e.g. government, administrative authorities, police) and the judicial branch (courts). 

The Federal State of Austria

The Republic of Austria is a Federal State composed of nine autonomous federal provinces. Its federal nature is one of the principles laid down in the Constitution and can only be changed by referendum. Unlike the situation in states with a centralist form of organisation, the legislative and executive powers are shared by the federal and provincial governments.

Provincial laws and laws pertaining to communities are passed by the provincial diets, and the administration of the provinces lies in the hands of the provincial governments. The citizens of a province may also influence provincial legislation through instruments of direct democracy.


Political Parties

In order for a parliamentary democracy to work it needs political parties. They bundle the large number of different interests at play in society and make them manageable. How powerful are the parties?

View of the Bundeskanzleramt

The Government

The Government comprises the Federal Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor and the Ministers. Jointly with the Federal President, it forms the head of the federal administration.

Main entrance of the Verfassungsgerichtshof

The Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court is a High Court charged with the task of ensuring compliance with the Constitution. It can declare laws passed by the National and Federal Councils null and void.

Committee meeting

The Main Committee

The Government and Parliament have to cooperate whenever particularly important matters are at stake: in the Main Committee.