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Nationalrat (National Council)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Presidency module

Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlament / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Nationalrat / National Council
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Bundesrat / Federal Council
Title Speaker of the National Council
Term - Duration: 5 years (term of Chamber)
- Reasons for termination of the term: resignation, loss of mandate as a member of the Chamber, dissolution of the Chamber, appointment to another office or position, conviction for illegal activities, death.
- The Speaker cannot be removed by members of the Chamber before the end of his/her mandate.
- In the case of dissolution of the Chamber, the outgoing Speaker continues to act as Speaker.
Appointment - The Speaker is elected by members of the Chamber.
- The election is held at the first session of the newly elected Chamber.
Eligibility - Only members of the Chamber are eligible as Speaker, Second Speaker or Third Speaker
- The Speaker is not allowed to engage in paid employment during the term of office.
- Former Speakers may seek re-election.
Voting system - There is a formal notification process for the candidate. The political parties represented in the Chamber may nominate a candidate for the post of the Speaker, the Second and Third Speakers according to their number of seats (i.e., the largest party nominates the candidate for Speaker).
- The Speaker is elected by secret ballot.
- The candidate who receives the largest number of votes is declared elected.
Procedures / results - The outgoing Speaker presides over the Chamber during the voting.
- The outgoing Speaker and the Secretary General supervise the Chamber during the voting.
- The outgoing Speaker announces the results.
- The results cannot be challenged.
Status - The Speaker holds the third highest office in the State after the Federal President and the Chancellor.
- The Speaker of the Lower Chamber ranks higher in the hierarchy of State than the President of the Upper Chamber.
- Although the National Council and the Federal Council are separate bodies, their members form a third parliamentary body called the Federal Assembly. The Speaker of the National Council and the President of the Federal Council preside over the Federal Assembly alternately.
- The Speaker, the Second Speaker and the Third Speakers may jointly act as Head of State (Federal President) in case of the latter's prolonged absence.
- The Speaker is the ex officio Chair of the Parliamentary Investigating Committees. The Speaker may ask the Second or Third Speaker to assume his/her role in chairing Investigating Committee sittings
- In the absence of the Speaker, the Second or the Third Speaker assumes his/her role and duties.
Board - The Speaker is assisted by the Conference of Presidents.
- The Conference of Presidents is an advisory body.
- The Conference of Presidents consists of the Speaker, the Second Speaker and the Third Speaker of the National Council as well as the chairpersons of all parliamentary groups, including opposition groups. They automatically become members by virtue of their function in the National Council and serve a five-year term (term of Chamber).
Material facilities - A special allowance of a maximum of 17,000 euros per month.
- An official car
- Ten additional staff members: (chief of cabinet, press officer, political staff, secretaries and driver)
Organization of parliamentary business Organization of parliamentary business
The Speaker may:
- convene sessions,
- establish and modify the agenda, i.e. the programme and schedule of work,
- organize the debates and set speaking times,
- refer a text to committee for study,
- group amendments for debate and voting purposes.
Chairing of public sittings The Speaker may:
- open, adjourn and close sittings,
- interpret the rules or other regulations governing the functioning of the Chamber,
- ensure respect for provisions of the Constitution and the Standing Orders,
- make announcements concerning the Chamber,
- take disciplinary measures in the event of a disturbance or infringement of obligations to observe secrecy under the Information Rules Act and lift such measures,
- establish the list of speakers,
- give and withdraw permission to speak,
- select which amendments are to be debated,
- establish the order in which amendments are taken up,
- call for a vote,
- decide how a vote will be carried out,
- verify the voting procedure,
- check the quorum,
- repeat a vote in the event of irregularities,
- authenticate the adopted texts and the records of debates,
- give the floor outside the agenda and thus organize impromptu debates,
- decide on proposals to declassify or re-classify information,
- decide upon the level of access to classified information of Parliamentary Administration employees,
- determine, after consultation with the President's Conference, the number of persons to be designated by the parliamentary groups,
- decree, in consensus with the Chairperson of the Federal Council and after consultation with the respective President's Conferences, supplementary provisions in terms of the Information Rules Act.
Special powers The Speaker may:
- propose the Chamber's budget,
- recruit, assign and promote staff,
- represent the Chamber in its relations with foreign parliaments and bodies,
- be responsible for safety and discipline in the Chamber and may call in the police in the event of a dispute in the Chamber,
- organize the services of the parliament.
The Second and Third Speaker may participate in proposing the Chamber's budget.
Speaking and voting rights, other functions The Speaker may:
- take the floor in legislative debates,
- take part in voting.

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