Political Parties

Currently there are more than 1,000 registered political parties in Austria.

Multitude of Opinions

The existence of a large number of different political parties is a hallmark of democracy and their importance is due to the role they play in the political decision-making process.

The legal basis for the founding of political parties is the Political Parties Act of 2012. In Austria political parties may be formed freely and the procedure is relatively simple. Groups may found political parties as long as they keep within the limits of constitutional law (cf. the prohibition of National Socialist organisations). The only condition these groups have to meet is that they adopt statutes which are published on the internet. These statutes must be deposited with the Federal Ministry of the Interior in order for the group to be endowed with legal personality.

The Financing of Political Parties

The various activities of political parties in the fields of organisation, information and public relations require a committed staff and money. In fact, donations and membership fees are not sufficient to cover the costs. In order to prevent political parties from becoming dependent on investors and lobbies they are subsidised from tax revenue.

Fundamental rules concerning the amount and the allocation of public subsidies as well as the limitation of campaign expenses are laid down in the Political Parties Act of 2012. The Parties’ Subsidies Act 2012 governs the federal government’s financial support in detail. In 2014 the public funding of political parties amounted to about 42.7 million euros.

Financial regulations