Chancellor of Austria

Chancellor of Austria
Bundeskanzler der Republik Österreich
Coat of arms of Austria.svg
Flag of Austria (state).svg
Sebastian Kurz (2018-02-28) (cropped).jpg
Sebastian Kurz

since 7 January 2020
Executive branch in Austrian Politics
Chancellery of Austria
StyleMr. Chancellor
His Excellency
TypeHead of Government
StatusSupreme executive organ
Member ofCabinet
European Council
National Security Council
SeatBallhausplatz, Innere Stadt, Vienna
NominatorPolitical parties
AppointerPresident of Austria
Term lengthNo fixed term (usually five years)
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Austria
PrecursorMinister-President of the Austrian Empire
Inaugural holderKarl Renner
  • Date created:
    1 October 1920
  • Date effective:
    10 November 1920
DeputyVice Chancellor of Austria
Salary306,446 annually[1]

The Chancellor of Austria (German: Bundeskanzler der Republik Österreich, lit. 'Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria') is the head of government of the Austrian Republic.

The position corresponds to that of Prime Minister in other parliamentary democracies. The term is gendered in the German language.

Austria is led by a male chancellor -- Kanzler Sebastian Kurz -- since 7 January 2020, after conclusions of coalition-formation process following the September 2019 Austrian parliamentary elections. Kurz, the youthful leader of the OeVP and former head of a coalition government with the FPOe that was brought down by a vote of no confidence following the Ibiza scandal, won a resounding victory over his party's former coalition partners, but not a majority of seats in the National Council, the lower house of the Austria's Parliament. Kurz negotiated with the Green Party to form what became an unprecedented variant of a coalition government at the federal level, but would not mark the first success of the environmentalist movement in national politics. Austria's nominally nonpartisan federal president, Alexander Van der Bellen, had made his name in Austrian politics as a leader of the Greens. Austria has never yet had a female president. Bierlein is the Second Republic's first Kanzlerin, albeit only of a nonpartisan caretaker government.[2]

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.[3]

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