ÖSTERREICH
Also: Estarreich.
Officially: Republik Österreich.
English: Austria.
Seat of government: Wien / Wean.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The parliament (Parlament) comprises the Nationalrat, elected in geographical constituencies modified by party-list proportional representation, and the Bundesrat, chosen by provincial legislatures (Landtage) to reflect their own composition. The Nationalrat chooses the Kanzler and effectively determines most legislation on its own. The president is elected directly; the office is theoretically powerful but by tradition deferential to the Nationalrat and the Kanzler.
Governing parties: Österreichische Volkspartei, led by Christian Kern; Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, led by Reinhold Mitterlehner.
Heads of government: Sebastian Kurz, ÖVP, Kanzler (since 2017); Heinz-Christian Strache, FPÖ, Vizekanzler (since 2017); Alexander Van der Bellen, Grünen, president (since 2016).
Other parliamentary parties: Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs, led by Christian Kern; Neos – Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum, led by Matthias Strolz; Liste Peter Pilz.
Recent history: Elections in 1999 repeated a plurality for the SPÖ, with the FPÖ a shock second and the ÖVP third. ÖVP leader Wolfgang Schüssel refused to reach terms with the SPÖ. President Thomas Klestil (1992-2004) then used his usually-ceremonial power to bypass FPÖ leader Jörg Haider in favor of Schüssel (2000-7), who formed a government with the FPÖ. A coalition dispute between Schüssel and Haider forced early elections in 2002. In those elections the ÖVP won much of the FPÖ’s vote by adopting many of its issues; but it failed to find a new partner, and renewed its coalition with the FPÖ. The FPÖ split in 2005, with the Haider faction becoming the Bündnis Zukunft Österreich and continuing in the coalition, while the rump FPÖ went into opposition. In 2006 elections the SPÖ again won a plurality, later agreeing a grand coalition with the ÖVP, headed by Alfred Gusenbauer (2007-8) of the SPÖ. That coalition failed and early elections were held in 2008. The SPÖ again finished first; the ÖVP finished second, but behind the combined FPÖ-BZÖ vote. The only majority option excluding the far right was therefore a renewed grand coalition; Werner Faymann (2008-16) of the SPÖ became Kanzler. This coalition was continued after 2013 elections, in which both governing parties lost seats. Faymann resigned in 2016, replaced by Kern (2016-7), also of the SPÖ. An election for the presidency in 2016 produced a run-off between Norbert Höfer of the FPÖ and Van der Bellen; Van der Bellen won by only .6%, but the result was annulled, and he won a repeat by 7.6%. A parliamentary election in 2017 gave a plurality to the ÖVP, while the SPÖ barely finished ahead of the FPÖ, and the ÖVP and FPÖ formed a coalition.
FH: 1-1, free. Econ: 8.49 (14), full democracy.
Updated: 2017 December 24.
 

O.T. FORD