Chapter IV. Legislation and Execution by the Laender
A. General Provisions
- The legislation of the Laender is carried out by the Diets. The Diets are elected by equal, direct, personal, free and secret suffrage on the basis of proportional representation by the male and female Land citizens who in accordance with the Diet electoral regulations are entitled to vote. Land law regulates the detailed provisions respecting the electoral procedure and, if need be, the compulsory voting. This Land law shall in particular prescribe the grounds on which non-participation in the election notwithstanding compulsory voting is deemed to be excused. The constitution of a Land may provide that nationals, who had a residence in the Land, before moving their domicile abroad are entitled to vote for the duration of this sojourn abroad, for a maximum period of ten years.
- The Diet electoral regulations may not impose more stringent conditions for suffrage and electoral eligibility than does the Federal Constitution for elections to the National Council.
- The voters exercise their franchise in self-contained constituencies which can be divided into self-contained regional constituencies. The number of deputies shall be divided among the constituencies in proportion to the numbers of inhabitants. The Diet electoral regulations can provide for a final distribution procedure throughout the Land whereby a balance between the seats allocated to the candidate parties in the constituencies and likewise a distribution of the as yet unallocated seats is effected in accordance with the principles of proportional representation. A division of the electorate into other electoral bodies is not admissible.
- Detailed regulations on the election procedure shall be determined by the Diets’ Standing Orders. Article 26 para 6 is to be applied accordingly.
- To public employees who seek a seat in the Diet or who are elected to membership of a Diet, Article 59a shall apply, stricter regulations are admissible. Land constitutional law can create an institution with the same powers and the same obligation to publicize a report as those of the Commission under Article 59b.
- The members of a Diet enjoy the same immunity as the members of the National Council; the provisions of Article 57 are applied analogously.
- The provisions of Arts. 32 and 33 hold good also for the meetings of Diets and their committees.
- Land law can determine upon a settlement in according with Article 56 paras 2 to 4 for Diet members who resign their seat on the occasion of their election to membership of the Federal Council or Land Government.
- A Land law requires a vote by a Diet, authentication and countersignature in accordance with the provisions of the Land concerned, and publication by the Governor in the Land Law Gazette.
- Inasmuch as a Land law foresees in its execution the cooperation of Federal authorities the approval of the Federal Government must be obtained. Such enactments are to be notified immediately after the resolution of the Diet by the Governor to the office of the Federal Chancellor. The approval shall be deemed granted if within eight weeks after the day of the enactment’s receipt at the Federal Chancellery the Federal Government has not informed the Governor that the co-operation of the Federal authorities is refused. Before the expiry of this deadline publication of the enactment may only ensue if the Federal Government has expressly agreed.
- If the immediate enactment of measures which constitutionally require the adoption of a resolution by the Diet becomes necessary to avert manifest, irreparable harm to the community as a whole in circumstances where the Diet is unable to meet in time or is impeded in its function by events beyond its control, the Land Government can in agreement with a Diet committee appointed in accordance with the principle of proportional representation take these measures by way of temporarily law-amending ordinances. The Land Government must inform the Federal Government thereof without delay. The Diet shall be convened as soon as the impediment to its meeting has ceased to be operative. Article 18 para 4 holds good analogously.
- The ordinances specified in para 3 above may in any case not signify an alteration to Land constitutional provisions and may neither comprise a permanent financial burden for the Land nor a financial burden for the Federation or the municipalities, nor financial commitments for the state’s nationals, nor a disposal of Land property, nor measures pertaining to the matters specified in Article 12 para 1 subpara 6, nor lastly such as relate to the affairs of the chambers for workers and salaried employees engaged in agriculture and forestry.
(Note: Repealed by F.L.G. I No. 51/2012)
- The Land Constitution to be enacted by a Land constitutional law can, inasmuch as the Federal Constitution is not affected thereby, be amended by Land constitutional law.
- A Land constitutional law can be passed only in the presence of half the members of the Diet and with a two thirds majority of the votes cast.
- Every Diet can be dissolved by the Federal President on the request of the Federal Government and with the sanction of the Federal Council; such a dissolution may however be decreed only once for the same reason. The motion in the Federal Council must be carried in the presence of half the members and with a two thirds majority of the votes cast. The representatives of the Land whose Diet is to be dissolved may not participate in the division.
- In case of dissolution writs for new elections shall within three weeks be issued in accordance with the provisions of the Land constitution; the convocation of the newly elected Diet must ensue within four weeks after the election.
- The executive power in each Land is exercised by a Land Government to be elected by the Diet.
- The members of a Land Government need not belong to the Diet. Nevertheless only persons eligible for the Diet can be elected to membership of the Land Government.
- The Land Government consists of the Governor, the requisite number of deputies, and other members.
- Before assumption of office the Governor renders to the Federal President, the other members of the Land Government render to the Governor an affirmation with respect to the Federal Constitution. The addition of a religious asseveration is admissible.
The publication of the legal provisions to be published in the Law Gazette of the Land can be made in the frame of the legal information system of the Federation.
- In the sphere of the Laender, in so far as no Federal authorities exist (direct Federal administration), the Governor and the Land authorities subordinate to him exercise the executive power of the Federation (indirect Federal administration). In so far as Federal authorities are entrusted with the execution of matters which are performed as indirect Federal administration, these Federal authorities are subordinate to the Governor and bound by his instructions (Article 20 para 1); whether and to what extent such Federal authorities are entrusted with executive acts is regulated by Federal laws; these may, in so far as they do not concern the mandate stated in para 2 below, only be published with the sanction of the Laender concerned.
- The following matters can within the framework of the constitutionally established sphere of competence be directly performed by Federal authorities:demarcation of frontiers, trade in goods and livestock with other countries, customs, regulation and control of entry into and exit from Federal territory, the right of abode for humanitarian reasons; passports, banishment, expulsion and deportation; asylum; extradition, Federal finances, monopolies, the monetary-, credit-, stock exchange, banking, the weights and measures, standards and hallmark system, administration of justice, press affairs, the maintenance of peace, order and security, including the extension of primary assistance in general, but excluding those of the local public security administration, matters pertaining to association and assembly, the aliens police and matters pertaining to residence registration, matters pertaining to weapons, ammunition and explosives as well as the use of fire-arms, antitrust law; patent matters and the protection of designs, trade marks, and other commodity description, the traffic system, river and navigation police, the postal and telecommunications system, mining, Danube control and conservation, regulation of torrents, construction and maintenance of waterways, surveying, labour legislation social and contractual insurance, fostering money; legal provisions of social compensation, commercial transactions in seed and plant commodities, in fodder and fertilizer as well as plant preservatives, and in plant safety appliances including their admission and, in the case of seed and plant commodities, the preservation of monuments, organisation and command of the Federal police likewise their acceptance; military affairs, matters of civilian service, population policy in so far as it concerns the grant of children’s allowances and the organization of burden equalization on behalf of families; schooling as well as education in matters pertaining to pupil and student hostels with the exception of agricultural and forestry education in matters pertaining to student hostels, public tendering.
- The Federation remains entitled to delegate to the Governor its executive power also in the matters enumerated in para 2 above.
- The establishment of Federal authorities for matters other than those specified in para 2 above can ensue only with the sanction of the Laender concerned.
- If in a Land the immediate enactment of measures in matters pertaining to the direct Federal administration becomes necessary to avert manifest, irreparable harm to the community as a whole in circumstances where the highest authorities of the Federal administration are impeded by events beyond their control, the Governor must take the measures on their behalf.
- In matters of the indirect Federal administration the Governor is bound by instructions from the Federal Government and individual Federal Ministers (Article 20) and he is obliged, in order to effect the implementation of such instructions, also to employ the powers available to him in his capacity as a functionary of the Land’s autonomous sphere of competence.
- A Land Government, when it draws up its Standing Orders, can decide that specific categories of business pertaining to the indirect Federal administration shall be conducted by members of the Land Government in the name of the Governor because of their substantive relationship with matters pertaining to the Land’s autonomous sphere of competence. In such business the members concerned of the Land Government are as much bound by the instructions of the Governor (Article 20) as is the latter by the instructions of the Federal Government or individual Federal Ministers.
- Instructions issued by the Federal Government or individual Federal Ministers in accordance with para 1 above shall also in instances falling under para 2 above be addressed to the Governor. The latter, should he not himself be conducting the relevant business of the indirect Federal administration, is responsible (Article 142 para 2 subpara e) for passing the instruction in writing without delay and unaltered to the Land Government member concerned and for supervising its implementation. If the instruction is not complied with, although the Governor has made the necessary arrangements, the Land Government member concerned is pursuant to Article 142 responsible to the Federal Government as well.
- (Note: Repealed by F.L.G. I No. 51/2012)
- The provisions of Article 102 shall not apply to agencies for the performance of Federal business specified in Article 17.
- Nonetheless the Federal Minister entrusted with the administration of Federal assets can assign the performance of such business to a Governor and the authorities subordinate to him. Such an assignment can at any time be revoked in part or in whole. To what extent in exceptional instances the Federation makes recompense for the accrued costs of performing such business will be regulated by Federal law. Article 103 paras 2 and 3 apply analogously.
- The Governor represents the Land. In matters pertaining to the indirect Federal administration he is pursuant to Article 142 responsible to the Federal Government. The Governor has a member of the Land Government to substitute for him (Deputy Governor) who is designated by the Land Government. This appointment shall be notified to the Federal Chancellor. Should the need for substitution occur, the member of the Land Government appointed as substitute is pursuant to Article 142 likewise responsible to the Federal Government in matters pertaining to the indirect Federal administration. Immunity is no bar to the assertion of such responsibility on the part of the Governor or the member of the Land Government who substitutes for him. Immunity is likewise no bar to the assertion of responsibility on the part of a member of the Land Government in a case arising under Article 103 para 3.
- The members of the Land Government are responsible to the Diet pursuant to Article 142.
- A vote to prefer a charge within the meaning of Article 142 requires the presence of half the members.
An administrative civil servant with legal training will be appointed to take charge as The Land administration’s chief executive of the Land Government Office’s internal services. He is also the official assistant of the Governor in matters pertaining to the indirect Federal administration.
(Note: Repealed by F.L.G. No. 444/1974)
B. The Federal Capital Vienna
For the Federal capital, Vienna, in its capacity as a Land, the municipal council has additionally the function of the Diet, the city senate the function of the Land Government, the mayor the function of the Governor, the City administration the function of the Land Government Office, and the city administration’s chief executive the function of the Land administration’s chief executive.
Art. 102 para 1 applies to the Federal Capital Vienna with the proviso, that the execution of the Federation, to the extent separate federal authorities do not exist (direct Federal Administration), is exerted by the mayor as Governor and by his subordinate city administration as district administration authority
(Note: Repealed by F.L.G. No. 490/1984)
(Note: Repealed by F.L.G. I No. 51/2012)
Allowing for Article 108 and 109 the provisions of Section A of the fifth Chapter hold good in other respects for the Federal capital Vienna, with the exception of Article 117 para 6 second phrase, Article 119 para 4 and Article 119a. Article 142 para 2 subpara e also applies to the conduct of the sphere of competence assigned by the Federation to the Federal capital, Vienna.