At stake in this election:
- The office of President of Austria
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.
Description of electoral system:
- The President is elected by absolute majority vote through a two-round system to serve a 6-year term.
- The Chancellor is appointed by the president.
- In the Federal Council (Bundesrat) 62 members are elected by indirect vote*. In the National Council (Nationalrat) 183 members are elected through an open-list proportional representation system to serve 4-year terms.**
* 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 Candidates in the Presidential race:
- Heinz FISCHER
Party: Social Democratic Party of Austria / Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs (SPÖ)
- Barbara ROSENKRANZ
Party: Freedom Party of Austria / Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ)
- Rudolf GEHRING
Party: Christian Party of Austria / Christliche Partei Österreichs (CPÖ)
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 8,210,281 (July 2009 est.)
- Registered Voters: 6,355,620 (April 2010 )