The Federal President
Duties and Functions
The Federal President is one of the supreme executive authorities, along with the Federal Ministers and State Secretaries and the members of the State Governments.
The Federal President is elected by the populace on the basis of an equal, direct, secret and personal ballot.
If only one candidate contests the presidential election, then the election takes the form of a referendum.
The candidate who wins more than half of the valid votes cast is considered elected. If no candidates gains a majority in the first round of voting, a run-off round is held between the two candidates who gained the most votes.
The Federal President's term of office runs for six years. An incumbent may run for a second consecutive term of office only once.
On taking office, the Federal President swears the following oath before the Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung):
I pledge dutifully to observe the Constitution and all the laws of the Republic and to fulfil my duties to the best of my abilities.
During his term of office, the Federal President may not belong to a general representative body nor exercise another profession. He may be prosecuted by the authorities only if the Federal Assembly gives its consent.
If the Federal President is incapacitated, the Federal Chancellor initially assumes all his duties and functions. If this incapacitation lasts for longer than twenty days, however, The President, the Second President and the Third President of the 'Nationalrat' exercise the functions of the Federal President on a collegiate basis, passing decisions by simple majority. The President of the 'Nationalrat' presides over the collegiate "troika" and carries out public representational functions.
The functions of the Federal President
The Federal President represents the Republic of Austria to the outside world. He receives and accredits envoys, approves the appointment of foreign Consuls, appoints Austria's consular representatives abroad, and concludes state treaties.
The Federal President appoints the Federal Chancellor and, at the latter's recommendation, the other Federal Ministers in the Federal Government.
The Federal President swears in the members of the Federal Government before they assume office.
When a Federal Government resigns, the Federal President entrusts members of the outgoing Government with the continuation of the affairs of state in a caretaker capacity until a new Government is formed.
In the event that a Federal Minister is temporarily incapacitated, the Federal President entrusts his duties and functions to another Federal Minister or to the State Secretary seconded to the incapacitated minister.
Every year the Federal President summons the 'Nationalrat' to a regular session and may also call extraordinary sessions of the 'Nationalrat'.
The Federal President is empowered to dissolve the 'Nationalrat' but may do so only once on the same grounds.
The Federal President is Commander-in-chief of the Austrian armed forces.
The Federal President also has the following powers: