At stake in this Referendum:
- Austrian voters will be asked whether they are in favor of the introduction of a professional, paid, volunteer army, or whether to maintain universal military conscription. The referendum is advisory in nature.
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: President Heinz FISCHER
- Head of Government: Chancellor Werner FAYMANN
- Assembly: Austria has a bicameral Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung) consisting of the Federal Council (Bundesrat) with 62 seats* and the National Council (Nationalrat) with 183 seats**.
* Members are elected by state councils to serve 5- or 6-year terms. Members represent each of the 9 states on the basis of population, and each state elects at least 3 representatives.
** There are 9 multi-member constituencies corresponding to each of the states. Each of these is subdivided into smaller, regional constituencies, of which there are 43 in total. Each party fields regional, state, and national lists of candidates. Each voter gets one ballot on which she votes for one party and may express candidate preferences within that party's regional and state-level lists. Seat allocation proceeds in three stages. First, regional seats are allocated (d'Hondt method). Second, provincial seat allocations are calculated, the sums of parties regional seats within each province are subtracted from these totals, and seats are allocated accordingly (d'Hondt method). Third, this process repeats at the national level (Hare method), where party lists are closed. Parties must win at least one seat each in a regional constituency to qualify for seats at the state and national levels. Additionally, any candidate who receives at least one-sixth of her party’s votes is automatically awarded a seat. There is a 4 percent threshold for parties to gain representation, although a party that fails to reach this mark may still gain representation if it wins at least one seat in a regional election.
Main provisions in the Referendum:
- Are you in favor of the introduction of a professional army and a paid voluntary social year?
- The referendum is non-binding, and is advisory in nature.
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 8,219,743 (July 2012 est.)
- Registered Voters: 6,378,478 (January 2013 )