European union


The Austrian parliament (Nationalrat)
Chaiperson: Dr. Andreas Khol
Members: 183

Parliamentary groupAustrian People's Party
Information for the partyThe Austrian People's Party or Österreichische Volkspartei is an Austrian political party. It is roughly comparable to the German Christian Democratic Union in terms of both platform and voter demographics. The People's Party has been founded immediately following the reestablishment of the Federal Republic of Austria in 1945 and has been a major player in Austrian politics ever since.
With regard to social policy, the Austrian People's Party is a classical conservative movement, running on a platform of respect for tradition and stability of social order. For most of its existence, the People's Party has explicitly defined itself as Catholic and anti-socialist.
In 2000, the People's Party formed a coalition government with the right-wing populist Jörg Haider's Austrian Freedom Party. This caused widespread outrage in Europe, and fourteen members of the European Union imposed informal diplomatic sanctions against Austria's federal administration. A few months later, these sanctions were dropped as a result of a fact-finding mission by three former European prime ministers, the so-called "three wise men". In November 2002, general elections resulted in a landslide victory (42.27% of the vote) for the People's Party under the leadership of Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel. The latest parliamentary elections were held in 2006.

Parliamentary groupSocial Democratic Party of Austria
Information for the partyThe Social Democratic Party of Austria (Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs, SPÖ) is a political party in Austria. It was united in 1889 as Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei Österreichs (SDAPÖ) and is one of the major parties in Austria. It was fairly successful in the 1920s, but its members were persecuted by right-wingers in the early 1930s. Both under the Austro-fascist dictatorship (1934-1938) and during the German occupation of Austria between 1938 and 1945, the SPÖ was banned and persecuted heavily, but after liberation, the Social Democrats became a major political force in post-war Austria.
Currently, it holds the presidency of Austria under Heinz Fischer, and has 69 seats in the Nationalrat and 23 seats in the Bundesrat, making it the second largest party in Austria. It has 9 seats in the European Parliament, the largest party for Austria in the European Parliament.
It is a member of the Party of European Socialists in the European Parliament. The latest parliamentary elections were held in 2006.

Parliamentary groupAustrian Freedom Party
Information for the partyThe Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, abbreviated to FPÖ) is an Austrian political party usually associated with the name of Jörg Haider. The FPÖ is generally regarded as a populist party and often classed as a Euronationalist party. It promises stronger anti-immigration laws, stricter law enforcement and more funds for families. In June 2004, Ursula Haubner, Haider's elder sister, succeeded Herbert Haupt as party chairperson.
The Freedom Party was founded in 1955, and initially held liberal political views. Its roots were in the Pan German movement, and so it attracted a wide range of adherents from anti-clerical liberals worried about Catholic Austria's potential isolation from the outside world to German nationalists, a minority of whom would have even been sympathetic to some Nazi policies.
The Freedom Party attracted protest votes and those who desire no association with the other major parties. The party's mixture of populism and anti-establishment themes propagated by its aggressive leader steadily gained support over the years. It attracted about 27% of the vote in the 1999 elections.
In 2000, it joined a coalition government with Wolfgang Schüssel's ÖVP (the conservative "People's Party"). Although the Freedom Party had more votes and seats, it took a junior part in the coalition. There was a great degree of outrage internationally with 14 European states initiating diplomatic sanctions against Austria.
In 2001, Haider stepped down from the leadership of the Freedom Party. This was widely seen as a cynical move to appease foreign criticism, as he was alleged to control the party from behind the scenes. He retained the governorship of Carinthia. A split developed with an anti-Haider faction led by Freedom Party cabinet ministers gaining control of the party.
In the November 2002, general elections in Austria resulted in a landslide victory (42.27% of the vote) to the People's Party. The Freedom Party, which in 1999 was stronger than Schüssel's party, was reduced to 10.16% of the vote, less than half its previous vote. Nevertheless, the coalition government of People's Party and Freedom Party was revived in February 2003.
In September 2003 regional elections, notably in Upper Austria, also brought heavy losses, with the Austrian Green Party for the first time receiving more votes than the Freedom Party. The elections to the European Parliament in June 2004 reduced the Freedom Party's share of the vote to a mere 6%. The latest parliamentary elections were held in 2006.

Parliamentary groupThe Greens-Green Alternative
Information for the partyThe Greens-Green Alternative (Die Grünen - Die Grüne Alternative (Grüne) in German) is a political party in the Austrian parliament.
The party was formed in 1986 with the name Grüne Alternative, from a merger of the rather conservative party Vereinte Grüne Österreichs (VGÖ, founded 1982) and the more progressive party Alternative Liste Österreichs (ALÖ, founded 1983). In 1995 the name was changed to the now official name.
The party is member of the European Federation of Green Parties. The latest parliamentary elections were held in 2006.

Parliamentary groupAlliance for the Future of Austria
Information for the partyBündnis Zukunft Österreich (BZÖ). Nationalist party in Austria.

The Austrian Bundesrat (upper house)
faction: 183

factionAustrian People's Party
factionSocial Democratic Party of Austria
factionAustrian Freedom Party
factionThe Greens-Green Alternative
factionAlliance for the Future of Austria