Cohabitation – Austria

This is a series of posts that records the cases of cohabitation in countries with semi-presidential constitutions. Cohabitation is defined as the situation where the president and prime minister are from different parties and where the president’s party is not represented in the cabinet. Presidents classed as non-party cannot generate any periods of cohabitation.

There have been three periods of cohabitation in Austria:

April 1966-April 1970:
President – Franz Jonas (SPÖ); PM – Josef Klaus (ÖVP); government – ÖVP

Jul 1986-Jan 1987:
President – Kurt Waldheim (ÖVP); PM – Franz Vranitzky (SPÖ); government – SPÖ, FPÖ

July 2004-Jan 2007
President – Heinz Fischer (SPÖ); PM – Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP); government – ÖVP, FPÖ/BZÖ


List of coalitions –
List of presidents –

2 thoughts on “Cohabitation – Austria

  1. Michael

    The political system in Austria can be defined as parlamentary semi-presidential system. Unlike in other semi-presidential systems, e.g. France or South Korea, the austrian president is not member of the governing body (cabinet) end has limited executive power in everyday politics.

    Every day politics are dominated by the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, leaders of the coalition parties in parliament. If there is a majority of one party in parliament (last time in 1983) no coalition is formed.

    Therefore a cohabitation as described in your statement above is not part of the austrian political system!

  2. Robert Elgie

    Thanks. I am aware of how Austria operates. According to the definition in this blog, my work, and the work of many others, such as Samuels and Shugart, Austria does experience cohabitation. The fact that it does not generate conflict within the executive in the same way as France is a different issue, relating to host of historical and party political reasons.


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