Jan. 20, 2013, midnight

On January 20, 2012, Austrians will vote in a non-binding referendum on whether to maintain compulsory military service, or replace it with a paid force of professional volunteers.  Currently all able-bodied men aged 18-35 are eligible to serve six months in the Austrian military. The conscripted can opt for a year of community service or Zivildienst. Therefore many are concerned that abolishing universal conscription may affect the labor supply of necessary public services, which the country has come to rely upon Zivildienst for. These services include charities, ministries, hospitals, and ambulances. Support for the referendum is politically polarized. Left-leaning parties such as the Green Party (Die Grünen) and Alliance for the Future of Austria (Bündnis Zukunft Österreich) have come out in favor of reforming the military, whereas parties to the right like the Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs) have defended the status quo.

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