Federal Execution

Chapter III

Federal Execution

Part A Administration

Title 1 The Federal President

Article 60. Election

   1. The Federal President is elected by the nation on the basis of equal, direct, secret, and personal suffrage. If there is only one candidate, the election takes place by way of referendum. Anyone with House of Representatives suffrage is entitled to vote. Voting in the election is compulsory in Federal States where State law so provides. Detailed provisions about the electoral procedure and possible compulsory voting will be established by a federal law. This same law shall in particular lay down the reasons held to excuse non-participation in the election regardless of compulsory voting.

   2. The candidate who polls more than half of all valid votes has been elected. If no such majority results, a second ballot takes place. Votes in this can validly be cast only for one of the two candidates who have polled the most votes in the first ballot; but each of the two groups of voters who put up these two candidates can in the second ballot nominate another individual to replace its original candidate.

   3. Only a person who has House of Representatives franchise and was thirty five years old before the first of January of the year in which the election is held can be elected Federal President. Members of reigning houses or of formerly regnant families are excluded from eligibility.

   4. The result of the election of the Federal President shall be officially published by the Federal Chancellor.

   5. The Federal President holds office for six years. Re-election for the immediately following term of office is admissible once.

   6. Before expiry of his term of office the Federal President can be deposed by referendum. The referendum shall be held if the Federal Assembly so demands. The Federal Assembly shall be convoked by the Federal Chancellor for this purpose if the House of Representatives has passed such a motion. The House of Representatives vote requires the presence of at least half the members and a majority of two thirds of the votes cast. By such a House of Representatives vote, the Federal President is prevented from the further exercise of his office. Rejection by the referendum of the deposition works as a new election and entails the dissolution of the House of Representatives (Article 29 (1)). The Federal President's total term of office may not exceed twelve years.

Article 61. Incompatibility

         1. During his tenure of office, the Federal President may not belong to any popular representative body nor exercise any other occupation.

         2. The title "Federal President" may not, even with an addition or in the context of another designation, be used by anyone else. It is protected by law.

Article 62. Oath

  1. On his assumption of office the Federal President renders the following affirmation before the Federal Assembly:"I solemnly promise that I shall faithfully observe the Constitution and all the laws of the Republic and shall fulfill my duty to the best of my knowledge and belief."
  2. The addition of a religious assertion is admissible.

Article 63. Immunity

   1. The institution of legal process against the Federal President is only admissible if the Federal Assembly has agreed.

   2. The application for the institution of legal process against the Federal President shall be filed by the competent authority with the House of Representatives which votes whether the Federal Assembly shall deal with the matter. If the House of Representatives pronounces in favor of this, the Federal Chancellor must immediately convoke the Federal Assembly.

Article 64. Temporary Discharge

   1. All of the Federal President's responsibilities, should he be prevented from their discharge, pass in the first instance to the Federal Chancellor. If the impediment lasts longer than twenty days or if pursuant to Article 60 (6) the Federal President is prevented from the discharge of his office, the President, the Second President, and the Third President of the House of Representatives acting as a committee shall undertake the responsibilities of the Federal President. The same applies if the position of the Federal President is continuously deficient.

   2. The committee entrusted with the exercise of the Federal President's functions according to Paragraph (1) decides by majority vote. Chairmanship of the committee and its public representation belong to the President of the House of Representatives.

   3. Is one or are two of the House of Representatives' Presidents prevented from the discharge of their responsibilities or is their position continuously deficient, the committee constitutes a quorum even without their participation; in the event of a tied vote, the President senior in rank has the casting vote.

   4. If the position of the Federal President is continuously deficient, the Federal Government shall immediately arrange the election of the new Federal President; after the ensuing election, the committee shall without delay convoke the Federal Assembly for the affirmation of the Federal President.

Article 65. Functions

   1. The Federal President represents the Republic internationally, receives and accredits envoys, sanctions the appointment of foreign consuls, appoints the consular representatives of the Republic abroad, and concludes treaties. At the time of conclusion of a treaty not falling under Article 50, he can direct that the treaty in question shall be implemented by the issue of ordinances.

   2. Furthermore, the following powers -- notwithstanding the powers assigned to him by other provisions of this Constitution -- are vested in the President:
  1. to appoint federal civil servants, including officers as well as other federal functionaries, and to bestow official titles on them;
  2. to create and to bestow professional titles;
  3. in individual cases to pardon persons sentenced without further resources of appeal, to mitigate and mmute sentences pronounced by the courts, as an act of grace to annul sentences and to grant remission from their legal consequences, and moreover to quash criminal proceedings in actions subject to prosecution ex officio; and
  4. on the petition of parents to declare illegitimate children legitimate.
   3. Special laws provide to what extent powers are additionally vested in the Federal President with respect to the grant of honorary privileges, extraordinary gratifications, allowances and pensions, the right to nominate and confirm persons in appointments, and to exercise other powers in personnel matters.

Article 66. Authorization

   1. The Federal President can assign to the competent members of the Federal Government the right vested in him to appoint certain categories of federal civil servants.

   2. The Federal President can authorize the Federal Government or the competent members of the Federal Government to conclude certain categories of treaties which do not fall under the terms of Article 50; such an authorization extends also to the power to issue ordinances in accordance with Article 65 (1) second sentence.

Article 67. Recommendation, Countersignature

   1. Save as otherwise provided by the Constitution, all official acts of the Federal President shall be based on recommendation by the Federal Government or the Federal Minister authorized by it. The law provides to what extent the Federal Government or the competent Federal Minister is herein dependent on recommendations from other quarters.

   2. Save as otherwise provided by the Constitution, all official acts of the Federal President require for their validity the countersignature of the Federal Chancellor or the competent Federal Minister.

Article 68. Responsibility

   1. Pursuant to Article 142, the Federal President is responsible to the Federal Assembly for the exercise of his functions.

   2. To assert this responsibility, the Federal Assembly shall on the vote of the House of Representatives or the Senate be convoked by the Federal Chancellor.

   3. The presence of more than half the members of each of the two representative bodies and a majority of two thirds of the votes cast is requisite to a vote whereby a charge, consonant with Article 142, is proffered against the Federal President.

Title 2 The Federal Government

Article 69. Government

   1. The Federal Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, and the other Federal Ministers are entrusted with the highest administrative business of the Federation in so far as this is not assigned to the Federal President. They constitute as a body the Federal Government under the chairmanship of the Federal Chancellor.

   2. The Vice-Chancellor is entitled to deputize for the Federal Chancellor in his entire sphere of competence. Should the Federal Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor simultaneously be prevented from the discharge of their responsibilities, the Federal President entrusts a member of the Federal Government to deputize for the Federal Chancellor.

Article 70. Appointment

   1. The Federal Chancellor and, on his recommendation, the other members of the Federal Government are appointed by the Federal President. No recommendation is requisite to the dismissal of the Federal Chancellor or the whole Federal Government; the dismissal of individual members of the Federal Government ensues on the recommendation of the Federal Chancellor. The appointment of the Federal Chancellor or the whole Federal Government is countersigned by the newly-appointed Federal Chancellor; dismissal requires no countersignature.

   2. Only persons eligible for the House of Representatives can be appointed Federal Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, or Federal Minister; members of the Federal Government need not belong to the House of Representatives.

   3. Should a new Federal Government be appointed by the Federal President at a time when the House of Representatives is not in session, he must convoke the House of Representatives for an extraordinary session (Article 28 (2)) to meet within one week for the purpose of introducing the new Federal Government.

Article 71. Interim Government

Should the Federal Government have left office, the Federal President shall entrust members of the outgoing Government or senior civil servants of the Federal departments with continuation of the administration and one of them with the chairmanship of the provisional Federal Government until the formation of the new Federal Government. This provision applies analogously if individual members of the Federal Government have left office.

Article 72. Affirmation

   1. Before assuming office, the members of the Federal Government render an affirmation to the Federal President. The addition of a religious assertion is admissible.

   2. The instruments of appointment for the Federal Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, and the other Federal Ministers are executed by the Federal President on the day of the affirmation and are countersigned by the newly appointed Federal Chancellor.

   3. These provisions shall apply analogously to the cases mentioned in Article 71.

Article 73. Deputy Minister

Should a Federal Minister be temporarily prevented from discharging his responsibilities, the Federal President entrusts one of the other Federal Ministers or a senior civil servant of a Federal department to deputize for the Minister. This deputy carries the same responsibility as a Federal Minister (Article 76).

Article 74. Vote of No Confidence

   1. If the House of Representatives passes an explicit vote of no confidence in the Federal Government or individual members thereof, the Federal Government or the Federal Minister concerned shall be removed from office.

   2. The presence of half of the members of the House of Representatives is required for a vote of no confidence. Voting shall be adjourned until the next working day but one if one fifth of the members present so demands. Another adjournment of the division can ensue only from a decision by the House of Representatives.

   3. Notwithstanding the power otherwise vested in the Federal President in accordance with Article 70 (1), the Federal Government or its individual members shall in the legally specified contingencies or at their own wish be removed from office.

Article 75. Presence of Government

The members of the Federal Government as well as the Secretaries of State are entitled to participate in all deliberations by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Federal Assembly as well as the committees of these representative bodies, but only at special invitation in the deliberations by the Standing Sub-Committee of the House of Representatives' Main Committee and by the House of Representatives' Committees of Inquiry. On each occasion they must, in accordance with the detailed provisions of the federal law on the House of Representatives' Standing Orders and the Senate's Standing Orders, at their request be given a hearing. The House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Federal Assembly as well as their committees can require attendance by members of the Federal Government and request them to initiate investigations.

Article 76. Responsibility

   1. Pursuant to Article 142, the members of the Federal Government (Articles 69 and 71) are responsible to the House of Representatives.

   2. The presence of more than half the members is required for a motion which proffers a charge pursuant to Article 142.

Article 77. Federal Ministries

   1. The Federal Ministries and the authorities subordinate to them shall perform the business of the Federal administration.

   2. The number of the Federal Ministries, their competence, and their internal organization will be prescribed by federal law.

   3. The Federal Chancellor is entrusted with the direction of the Federal Chancellery and a Federal Minister is entrusted with the direction of each of the other Federal Ministries. The Federal President can assign to special Federal Ministers the direction of particular matters which fall within the Federal Chancellery's competence, including the personnel establishment and organization of such business, notwithstanding that these matters continue to belong to the Federal Chancellery; such Federal Ministers have, in respect of the matters in question, the status of a competent Federal Minister.

   4. The Federal Chancellor and other Federal Ministers can exceptionally be entrusted with the direction of a second Federal Ministry.

Article 78. Special Ministers, Secretaries of State

   1. In special cases, Federal Ministers can be appointed without at the same time being put in charge of a Federal Ministry.

   2. Secretaries of State, who are appointed and leave office in the same way as Federal Ministers, can be attached to Federal Ministers for assistance in the conduct of business and to deputize for them in Parliament.

   3. A Secretary of State is subordinate to a Federal Minister and bound by his instructions.

Title 3 The Federal Army

Article 79. Military Defence, Other Functions

   1. The country' s military defence is the duty of the Federal Army.

   2. The Federal Army, in so far as the lawful civil power claims its co-operation, has furthermore:
  1. over and above the sphere of the country's military defence
  2. to protect the constitutionally established institutions as well as their capacity to operate and the population's democratic freedoms,
  3. to maintain order and security inside the country; and
  4. to render assistance in the case of natural catastrophes and disasters of exceptional magnitude.
   3. Additional tasks of the Federal Army will be prescribed by Federal constitutional law.

   4. The Defence Law regulates which officials and authorities can lay direct claim to the co-operation of the Federal Army for the purposes mentioned in Paragraph (2).

   5. Intervention by the military on its own initiative for the purposes mentioned in Paragraph (2) is admissible only if circumstances outside their control have put it beyond capacity of the competent officials to effect intervention by the military and irreparable damage to the community at large would arise from a further wait or if it concerns the repulse of an actual attack, or the elimination of active resistance directed against a section of the Federal Army.

Article 80. Command

   1. Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Army is the Federal President.

   2. Save in so far as the Defence Law reserves disposal over the Federal Army to the Federal President, disposal over it lies with the competent Federal Minister within the limits of the authorization conferred on him by the Federal Government.

   3. Supreme command over the Federal Army is exercised by the competent Federal Minister (Article 76 (1)).

Article 81. State Participation

Federal law prescribes to what extent the States participate in the recruitment, provisioning, and accommodation for the Army and the supply of its other requirements.

Title 4 The Federal School Authorities

Article 81(a). Competence, School Boards

   1. The administration of the Federation in the field of schooling and in the field of education in matters of student hostels shall be undertaken by the competent Federal Minister and -- in so far as neither the university and fine arts academical system nor the agricultural and forestry school system nor the forestry and agricultural educational system in matters of student hostels are concerned -- by the school authorities of the Federation subordinate to the competent Federal Minister. The Counties can, as part of the Federation's assigned sphere of competence, be called upon to maintain registers of those who are of school-attendance age.

   2. A school authority shall be established in each State and in each political District and be known as the State school board and the District school board respectively. In Vienna, the State school board shall also undertake the duties of the District school board and be known as the Vienna City School Board. The applicable sphere of competence for members of the State and District school boards shall be prescribed by federal law.

   3. The following guiding principles shall apply to the establishment, to be prescribed by law, of the Federal school authorities:
  1. Committees shall be appointed within the framework of the Federal school authorities structure. Committee members of the State school boards, with voting rights, shall be appointed in proportion to party strength in the State Parliament, committee members of the District school boards, with voting rights, in proportion to the votes polled in the District by the parties represented in the State Parliament at the last State Parliament election. The appointment of all or some of the committee members by the State Parliament is admissible.
  2. The president of the State school board is the State-Governor, the chairman of the District school board is the head of the District administrative authority. Should the appointment of an executive State school board president be foreseen by law, he shall deputize for the president in all business which the president does not reserve to himself. Should the appointment of a vice-president be prescribed by law, he is entitled to inspect documents and to offer advice; such a vice-president shall in any case be appointed for those five States which, in accordance with the result of the last census taken prior to this Federal constitutional law coming into force, have the largest number of inhabitants.
  3. The terms of reference for the committees and the presidents of the State and District school boards shall be regulated by law. The committees shall be competent to issue rules and general instructions, to appoint officials and to render proposals for nominations as well as to render opinions on drafts of laws and ordinances.
  4. In cases of urgency which do not admit of postponement until the committee's next meeting, the president shall take action in the sphere of competence allocated to the committee as of its business and without delay inform the committee of this.
  5. Should for more than two months a committee lack a quorum, the tasks of the committee for the further period of its numerical incapacity devolve upon the president. In these cases the president replaces the committee.
   4. Instructions (Article 20 (1)) cannot be given on matters which fall into the committees' sphere of competence. This does not apply to instructions which forbid the implementation of a committee resolution as being contrary to law or which direct the repeal of an ordinance issued by the committee. The reasons for such instructions shall be stated. In accordance with Article 129 ff., the authority in receipt of the instruction can on the basis of a committee resolution immediately make complaint to the Administrative Court.

   5. The competent Federal Minister can control in person or through officials of the Federal Ministry in his charge the condition and performance of those schools and student hostels which are subordinate to the Federal Ministry by way of the State school board. Noticed shortcomings -- in so far as they do not concern such in the sense of Article 14 (8) -- shall be revealed to the State school board for the purpose of their redress.

Article 81(b). Proposals

   1. The State school board shall render three sets of proposals:
  1. for the filling of Federation vacancies for headmasters or headmistresses as well as other teachers and educational assistants at schools and student hostels subordinate to the State school boards;
  2. for the filling of Federation vacancies for the school supervisory officials serving with the State and District school boards as well as for the appointment of teachers with school supervisory functions; and
  3. for the appointment of chairmen and members of the examination boards for the teaching diploma at upper primary schools and special schools.
   2. The proposals in accordance with Paragraph (1) shall be rendered, pursuant to Article 66 (1) or 67 (1) or by reason of other provisions, to the competent Federal Minister. The selection of individuals from among those proposed is incumbent on the Federal Minister.

   3. Every State school board shall establish eligibility and disciplinary school boards of first instance for headmasters or headmistresses and other teachers as well as educational assistants who are employees under public law of the Federation and are employed at a school or student hostel subordinate to the State school board. The details shall be prescribed by federal law.

Part B Jurisdiction

Article 82. Judgments

   1. The Federation is the source of all jurisdiction.

   2. Judgments and decisions are pronounced and drawn up in the name of the Republic.

Article 83. Court Organization, Constitutional Judge

   1. The constitution and competence of the courts is laid down by federal law.

   2. No one may be deprived of his lawful judge.

Article 84. Military Tribunals

Military jurisdiction, except in time of war, is repealed.

Article 85. Capital Punishment

Capital punishment is abolished.

Article 86. Appointment

   1. Save as provided otherwise by this law, judges are appointed pursuant to the proposal of the Federal Government by the Federal President or, by reason of his authorization, by the competent Federal Minister; the e vacancy to be filled at least twice as many names as there are judges to be appointed.

Article 87. Independence

   1. Judges are independent in the exercise of their judicial office.

   2. A judge is independent in the exercise of his judicial office, during the performance of any judicial function properly his by law, and in the allocation of business, though to the exclusion of the judiciary's administrative business which in accordance with the provisions of the law shall not be discharged by tribunals or commissions.

   3. Business shall be allocated in advance among the judges of a court for the period provided by the law on the organization of the courts. A matter devolving upon a judge in accordance with this allocation may be removed from his jurisdiction by decree of the judiciary's administrative authorities only if he is prevented from the discharge of his responsibilities.

Article 87(a). Small Business

   1. The performance of certain kinds of business, which shall be exactly specified and fall within the jurisdiction of a civil court of first instance, can by federal law be assigned to specially trained employees of the Federation who are not Judges.

   2. The judge competent in accordance with the allocation of business can at any time reserve to himself or take over the discharge of such business.

   3. Employees of the Federation who are not judges are bound in the performance of business specified in Paragraph (1) only by instructions from the judge competent in accordance with the allocation of business. Article 20 (1) third sentence applies.

Article 88. Retirement, Suspension

   1. The law on the organization of the courts will prescribe an age limit upon whose attainment judges will be put on the permanently retired list.

   2. Otherwise judges may be removed from office or transferred against their will or superannuated only in the cases and ways prescribed by law and by reason of a formal judicial decision. These provisions do not apply to transfers and retirements which become necessary through changes in the organization of the courts. In such a case the law will lay down within which period judges can, without the formalities otherwise prescribed, be transferred and superannuated.

   3. The temporary suspension of judges from office may take place only by decree of the senior judge or the higher judicial authority together with simultaneous reference of the matter to the competent court.

Article 89. Judicial Review of Laws

   1. Save as otherwise provided by this Article, the courts are not entitled to examine the validity of duly published laws, ordinances, and treaties.

   2. Should a court have scruples against the application of an ordinance on the ground of it being contrary to law, it shall file an application with the Constitutional Court for rescission of this ordinance. Should the Supreme Court or a court of second instance competent to give judgment have scruples against the application of a law on the ground of its being unconstitutional, it shall file an application with the Constitutional Court for rescission of this law.

   3. If the legal regulation to be applied has already ceased to be in force, the Court's application to the Constitutional Court must request a decision that the legal regulation was contrary to law or unconstitutional.

   4. Paragraphs (2) and (3) apply analogously to treaties as provided in Article 140a.

   5. Federal law shall determine what effects an application pursuant to Paragraphs (2), (3), or (4) has on the pending legal proceedings.

Article 90. Publicity, Indictment

   1. Hearings in civil and criminal cases are oral and public. Exceptions are regulated by law.

   2. In criminal proceedings the procedure is by indictment.

Article 91. Juries in Criminal Proceedings

   1. The people shall participate in the administration of justice.

   2. A jury returns a verdict upon the guilt of the accused in crimes entailing severe penalties, to be specified by law, and in all cases of political felonies and misdemeanors.

   3. In criminal proceedings for other punishable offenses Jurors take part in the administration of justice if the penalty to be imposed exceeds a limit to be determined by law.

Article 92. Supreme Court

   1. The Supreme Court is the court of final instance in civil and criminal suits.

   2. Members of the Federal Government, a State government, or a popular representative body cannot be members of the Supreme Court. For members of a popular representative body elected for a fixed term of legislation or office such incompatibility continues until the expiry of that term of legislation or office even though they prematurely renounce their seat. Anyone who during the preceding four years has exercised one of the aforesaid functions cannot be appointed President or Vice-President of the Supreme Court.

Article 93. Pardons

Pardons for acts punishable by the courts are extended by federal law.

Article 94. Separation of Powers

Judicial and administrative powers shall be separate at all levels of proceedings.