Parliamentary Chamber: Nationalrat


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Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  3 October 1999

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in the National Council on the normal expiry of the members' term of office

Background and outcome of elections:

  Since the previous (December 1995) general elections, Mr. Viktor Klima had replaced Mr. Franz Vranitzky as Federal Chancellor (Head of the Council of Ministers) in January 1997; both belonged to the Social Democratic Party (SP), which had ruled in coalition with the People's Party (VP) since 1987.

As in the past, these two groups were mainly opposed by the Freedom Party (FP) led, since 1986, by Mr. Jrg Haider. During the campaign, this far-right group stepped up its anti-foreigner rhetoric. Besides advocating a freeze on immigration, it called for tougher action against crime, a flat 23% income tax rate and more state aid for Austrian families with children; it also opposed enlargement of the European Union to neighboring countries. Led by Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel, the conservative VP, for its part, favoured a pro-European Union and NATO orientation and free-market economic reform, while the SP sided with traditional Austrian neutrality and maintaining a strong state control over the economy.

On polling day, the FP captured 12 extra seats to pull even with the VP for second place in the National Council. It thus closed the gap with the SP, which made its worst showing in years by losing six seats to end up with 65.

Four months after the elections, at the beginning of February 2000, the FP and the VP formed a new government. The inclusion of members of a far right party provoked a general outrage a number of countries, including the 14 other EU Member States, ostracised the country diplomatically.

Round no 1 (3 October 1999): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 5 838 373
Voters 4 695 192 (80 %)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 72 841
Valid votes 4 622 351

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Social Democratic Party (SP) 1 532 448 33.15
Freedom Party (FP) 1 244 087 26.91
People's Party (VP) 1 243 672 26.91
Greens 342 260 7.40
Liberal Forum 168 612 3.65

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Social Democratic Party (SP) 65 -6
Freedom Party (FP) 52 +12
People's Party (VP) 52 -1
Greens 14 +5
Liberal Forum 0 -10

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 134
Women: 49
Percent of women: 26.78

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Copyright 1999 Inter-Parliamentary Union