The Chancellor's place in Austria's political system
Austria's chancellor chairs and leads the cabinet, which is composed of the Chancellor, the vice chancellor and the ministers. Together with the president, who is head of state, the cabinet forms the country's executive branch leadership.
Austria is a parliamentary republic, the system of government in which real power is vested in the head of government. However, in Austria most executive actions of great extent can only be exercised by the president, upon advice or with the countersignature of the chancellor or a specific minister. Therefore the chancellor often requires the president's consent to implement greater decisions. Furthermore neither the ministers nor the vice chancellor report to the chancellor.
In legislature, the chancellor's power depends on the size of their affiliated parliamentary group. In case of a coalition cabinet, the chancellor commonly is the leader of the party most represented in the National Council, with the leader of the party able to grant a majority, usually serving as the vice chancellor.
The first Austrian sovereign head of government was the State Chancellor of the Austrian Empire, a position only held by Klemens von Metternich. The office was later renamed to Minister-President of the Austrian Empire and remained from there on until the dissolution of Austria-Hungary. The first head of government after the monarchy was the State Chancellor of German-Austria, an office again only held by one person; Karl Renner. After allied powers declined a union between Austria and Germany, the office was renamed to just State Chancellor of Austria and later changed to Federal Chancellor, which remained the position's final form until present day.
The official residence and executive office of the chancellor is the chancellery, which is located at the Ballhausplatz in the center of Vienna. Both the chancellor as well as the cabinet are appointed by the president and can be dismissed by the president.
The current officeholder is Brigitte Bierlein, who was sworn in as chancellor on 3 June 2019 by President Alexander Van der Bellen. Bierlein will serve at the helm of a non-party cabinet until in new coalition government is formed and sworn in the wake of the 2019 elections.