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Chancellor of Austria
Werner Faymann

since 12 December 2008
Residence Ballhausplatz 2
Appointer Heinz Fischer,
as President of Austria
Term length No term limit
Inaugural holder Karl Renner,
12 November 1918
Formation First Austrian Republic,
12 November 1918

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The Federal Chancellor (German: Bundeskanzler) is the head of government in Austria. Its deputy is the Vice Chancellor. Before 1918, the equivalent office was the Minister-President of Austria. The Federal Chancellor (also known more simply as the Chancellor) is considered to be the most powerful political position in Austrian politics.



The Chancellor is appointed by the President of Austria who is theoretically totally free in his choice. The Chancellor assumes his office immediately after the appointment and is sworn in by the president. Thus, a confirmation by the National Council (the Lower House of the Austrian parliament) is not necessary. However, since the National Council has the right to pass a motion of no confidence at any time, the president has to take the majority opinion of the National Council into account.

Role, Power

The Chancellor is "primus inter pares" (first among equal persons) in the Austrian government. He chairs the meetings of the Austrian government but has no power to instruct other Federal Ministers. He is not the head of state, nor is he the commander in chief of the Austrian Armed Forces. Both roles are vested with the Federal President. The Chancellor cannot appoint nor dismiss other federal ministers. He can only recommend such an action to the Federal President, who may then appoint or dismiss a minister. Vice versa the Federal President may only act with a recommendation of the Federal Chancellor. Furthermore the Chancellor normally also heads a federal ministry. Thus, although considered as the most powerful political position in Austria, he has a much weaker standing than the United States President or the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The political power of the Chancellor mainly derives from his power in his political party, which he normally chairs, and can vary a lot depending on whether there is a coalition or a single-party cabinet. Normally the Chancellor is the leader of the biggest party in the Austrian parliament, however the Federal President is free to appoint any other person also. In 2000 the Federal president appointed Wolfgang Schüssel although his party then had only been 3rd in the previous elections.

Chancellors of the First Austrian Republic (1918-1938)

Chancellors of the First Republic
Name Birth-Death Term of office Party
Karl Renner (1st time) 1870–1950 12 November 1918 – 7 July 1920 Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria
Michael Mayr 1864–1922 7 July 1920 – 21 June 1921 Christian Social Party
Johann Schober (1st time) 1874–1932 21 June 1921 – 26 January 1922 civil servant
Walter Breisky 1871–1944 26 January - 27 January 1922 civil servant
Johann Schober (2nd time) 1874–1932 27 January - 31 May 1922 civil servant
Ignaz Seipel (1st time) 1876–1932 31 May 1922 – 20 November 1924 Christian Social Party
Rudolf Ramek 1881–1941 20 November 1924 – 20 October 1926 Christian Social Party
Ignaz Seipel (2nd time) 1876–1932 20 October 1926 – 4 May 1929 Christian Social Party
Ernst Streeruwitz 1874–1952 4 May - 26 September 1929 Christian Social Party
Johann Schober (3rd time) 1874–1932 26 September 1929 – 30 September 1930 civil servant
Carl Vaugoin 1873–1949 30 September - 4 December 1930 Christian Social Party
Otto Ender 1875–1960 4 December 1930 – 20 June 1931 Christian Social Party
Karl Buresch 1878–1936 20 June 1931 – 20 May 1932 Christian Social Party
Engelbert Dollfuß1) 1892–1934 20 May 1932 – 25 July 1934 Christian Social Party/Fatherland's Front
Kurt Schuschnigg (1st time, acting)1) 1897–1977 25 July - 26 July 1934 Fatherland's Front
Ernst Rudiger Starhemberg (acting) 1899-1956 26 July - 29 July 1934 Fatherland's Front
Kurt Schuschnigg (2nd time) 1897-1977 29 July 1934 - 12 March 1938 Fatherland's Front
Arthur Seyß-Inquart2) 1892–1946 12 March - 13 March 1938 National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP)

1) In 1933 Austria's democratic institutions were overthrown and replaced by an authoritarian government, of which Engelbert Dollfuß and Kurt Schuschnigg were dominating figures, see Austrofascism

2) Due to pressure of National-Socialist Germany, the last Austrian president, Wilhelm Miklas, reluctantly appointed Seyß-Inquart as chancellor. Seyß-Inquart's only tasks were to prepare the Anschluss and facilitate the dissolution of the independent Austrian state.

Chancellors of the Second Austrian Republic (1945-Present)

Chancellors of the Second Republic
Name Birth-Death Term of office Party
Karl Renner 1870–1950 27 April - 20 December 1945 Social Democratic Party
Leopold Figl 1902–1965 20 December 1945 – 2 April 1953 Austrian People's Party
Julius Raab 1891–1964 2 April 1953 – 11 April 1961 Austrian People's Party
Alfons Gorbach 1898–1972 11 April 1961 – 2 April 1964 Austrian People's Party
Josef Klaus 1910–2001 2 April 1964 – 21 April 1970 Austrian People's Party
Bruno Kreisky 1911–1990 21 April 1970 – 24 May 1983 Social Democratic Party
Fred Sinowatz 1929–2008 24 May 1983 – 16 June 1986 Social Democratic Party
Franz Vranitzky 1937– 16 June 1986 – 28 January 1997 Social Democratic Party
Viktor Klima 1947– 28 January 1997 – 4 February 2000 Social Democratic Party
Wolfgang Schüssel 1945- 4 February 2000 – 11 January 2007 Austrian People's Party
Alfred Gusenbauer 1960- 11 January 2007 - 2 December 2008 Social Democratic Party
Werner Faymann 1960- 2 December 2008 - Present Social Democratic Party

See also

External links

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