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Austria: the referendum as an instrument of internationalisation

Chapter

Abstract

Austria is very much a representative democracy, although the constitution does contain some elements of direct democracy. These consist of provisions for referendums, popular petitions (a literal translation from the German term Volksbegehren would be “popular initiatives”, but they are more appropriately called petitions since they are submitted to parliament and not to the electorate), and the direct election of the president. However, these features are not really among the essential principles on which the Austrian constitution is based. Of greater significance are the first (Nationalrat) and second (Bundesrat) chambers of the Austrian parliament, which are responsible for federal legislation. In practice, the Nationalrat is the decisive arena, since the Bundesrat, although it may object to any legislation approved by the Nationalrat, has only delaying powers at its disposal. Furthermore, the cabinet and its individual members are answerable only to the first chamber of parliament.

Keywords

Vote Behaviour Grand Coalition Party System Direct Democracy Representative Democracy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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