Austrian People's Party: Wikis


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Austrian People's Party
Österreichische Volkspartei
Leader Josef Pröll
Founded 1893 (Christian Social Party)
April 17, 1945 (ÖVP)
Headquarters Lichtenfelsgasse 7
A-1010 Vienna
Ideology Conservatism,
Christian democracy
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation International Democrat Union
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament Group European People's Party
Official colours Black
European Parliament:
Politics of Austria
Political parties

The Austrian People's Party (German: Österreichische Volkspartei, or ÖVP) is a Christian democratic and conservative party in Austria. A successor to Austrian Christian Social Party of the late 19th and 20th centuries, it is similar to the Christian Democratic Union of Germany in terms of ideology. The People's Party was founded immediately following the reestablishment of the Federal Republic of Austria in 1945 and has been one of the two largest political parties in Austria ever since.



The Austrian People's Party represents conservatism, running on a platform of respect for traditions and stability of social order. In particular, it is expressly not interested in strengthening Austria's incomplete separation of church and state and appears to be somewhat sceptical of affirmative action, rights for sexual minorities, and other forms of real or perceived social engineering. For most of its existence, the People's Party has explicitly defined itself as Catholic and anti-socialist; the ideal of subsidiarity as defined by the encyclical Quadragesimo Anno is generally considered one of the historical cornerstones of its agenda.

For the first election after World War II, ÖVP presented itself as the Austrian Party („die österreichische Partei“), was decidedly anti-Marxist and regarded itself as the Party of the Middle („Partei der Mitte“). The ÖVP held permanently power either alone or in so-called Black-Red coalition with the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) until year 1970, when the Social Democrats formed their own minority government with the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). The ÖVP economic policies during the era can be described as upholding a social market economy.

Nowadays, with regard to economic policy, the Austrian People's Party is advocating liberalisation of economy, endorsing the reduction of Austria's relatively large public sector, welfare reform, and general deregulation. With regard to foreign affairs, it strongly supports European integration. Over the last two decades, the People's Party has also adopted a more environmentalist stance than other similar conservative parties.


The Austrian People's Party is popular mainly amongst white-collar workers, large and small business owners, and farmers. In particular, it is backed by a majority of Austria's civil servants, a remarkably large and influential group due to the size and scope of Austria's government bureaucracy. Austria's blue-collar workers, by comparison, tend to endorse the Social Democratic Party and the Freedom Party. All in all, People's Party supporters are comparatively educated and affluent. As its supporters like to point out, the People's Party enjoys growing popularity with younger voters according to a number of recent public opinion polls.[citation needed]


The Austrian People's Party is the successor of the Christian Social Party, a staunchly conservative movement founded in 1893 by Karl Lueger, mayor of Vienna and highly controversial right-wing populist. Most of the members of the Austrian People's party during its founding belonged to the former Fatherland Front, which was led by Engelbert Dollfuss, also a member of the Christian Social Party before the Anschluss. In its present form, the People's Party was established immediately after the restoration of Austria's independence in 1945; it has been represented in both the Federal Assembly ever since. In terms of Federal Assembly seats, the People's Party has consistently been the strongest or second-strongest party; as such, it has led or at least been a partner in most Austria's federal cabinets.



The People's Party has also been consistently controlling the state governments of the rural and strongly Catholic states of Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, and Vorarlberg. It is less popular in the city state of Vienna and in the rural but less strongly Catholic states of Burgenland and Carinthia. In 2004 it lost its plurality in the State of Salzburg, where they kept its result in seats (14) in 2009 and in 2005 in Styria for the first time. All things considered, the People's Party would have been near-incontestably dominating Austrian politics had it not been not for the comparatively populous and solidly social democratic metropolis of Vienna.

Federal Government

After the Austrian legislative election, 1999, the People's Party formed in 2000 a coalition government with the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria of its then-leader Jörg Haider. 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. Haider's Freedom Party, which in 1999 was slightly stronger than Schüssel's party, was reduced to 10.16% of the vote. In the 2006 elections the People's Party were defeated and after much negotiations agreed to become part of a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party of Austria, with new Party Chairman Wilhelm Molterer as Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor under Social Democrat Alfred Gusenbauer, who became Chancellor.

In the recent past, the People’s Party had to face increasing criticism among the public opinion, due to their persistence on their own point-of-view in several political topics (e.g. in matters of reforming the Austrian school system) This apparent unwillingness to negotiate or to make compromises within the coalition has caused political satire both among journalists and opponents.[1]

Chairpersons since 1945

The chart below shows a timeline of the Christian Democratic chairpersons and the Chancellors of Austria. The left black bar shows all the chairpersons (Bundesparteiobleute, abbreviated as "CP") of the ÖVP party, and the right bar shows the corresponding make-up of the Austrian government at that time. The red (SPÖ) and black (ÖVP) colours correspond to which party led the federal government (Bundesregierung, abbreviated as "Govern."). The last names of the respective chancellors are shown, the Roman numeral stands for the cabinets.

European Election 2009

The ÖVP was the winner of the 2009 election for the European Parliament in Austria. They had 846,709 votes (+28,993), a 30.0% (−2.7%) and 6 seats, the same they had.


External links

Simple English

The Austrian People's Party (German: Österreichische Volkspartei or ÖVP) is one of the biggest parties in Austria. Its name roughly translates to Austrian People's party. It has about 630.000 members. Its views are often center-right. This means it often has conservative views on the matters at hand. Many of its voters are Catholics. It is against moderate socialism, which is embodied by the other big party, the SPÖ.

A well-known politician, Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel is a member of this party. Former Minister of the Interior, Liese Prokop was also a member.


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