Austria

European Parliament Elections

Electoral system

Austria has 18 seats in the European Parliament. The electoral system for EP elections are, as National Council elections, rooted in proportional representation. However, there is one important distinction: Whereas the country is divided into regions and provinces and votes are counted on different stages in the elections organized for the National Council, EP elections utilize the whole country as one nation-wide electoral district and all seats are distributed at this level. Finally, the D’Hondt electoral formula is utilized for the purpose of distributing EP seats, the threshold for representation is set to 4 percent.

Latest election

The latest elections to the European Parliament took place on 7 June 2009. The ruling Social Democrats (SPÖ) suffered a serious setback, falling to 23.74 percent (down from 33.33 percent in 2004), giving it its worst-ever result in a nationwide election. The result gave the SPÖ 4 seats in the EU Parliament. The Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), which is in a grand coalition government with the SPÖ, came first with 29.98 percent (winning 6 seats), a drop of about three percentage points compared to 2004. A party founded by the euroskeptic journalist and politician Hans-Peter Martin gained 4 percent to win 17.67 percent of the vote (3 seats), making it the third strongest party. The right-wing populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) won 12.71 percent of the vote (2 seats), a gain of nearly seven percentage points, while the Greens slipped from over 12 percent in 2004 to just 9.93 percent (2 seats). The Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ), a right-wing populist party founded by the late Jörg Haider, got just 4.58 percent and failed to make the 5 percent hurdle.

Election results 2009, main parties. NUTS 3

Sources:

Spiegel Online, International: European Parliament Election Results by Country. Retrieved 27.October, 2009.

Ministry of the Interior (Bundesministerium für Inners), Election results.

The Electoral Reform Society, European Democracies website.

Government (Austria), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved 27 October 2009 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/at.is.29