The Federal President
Dr. Heinz Fischer
- Born October 9, 1938 in Graz, Austria, and raised in Vienna after the war
- Graduated from a classical secondary school in Vienna in 1956
- Compulsory military service in the Austrian Federal Army
- Studied law at the University of Vienna
- Doctorate in law in 1961, followed by year of judicial clerkship (Gerichtsjahr)
- Post-doctoral lecturing qualification (Habilitation) in political science at the University of Innsbruck in 1978
- Appointed full professor of political science in 1994
- Married to Margit Fischer, née Binder, since 1968
- Children: Philip (born 1972) and Lisa (born 1975)
On 8 July 2004, Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer was inaugurated for his first term before the Federal Assembly in the old assembly hall of the Reichsrat (Reichsratssitzungssaal) located in the Parliament building.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Federal President of Austria is the Head of State elected by the Austrian people for a term of six years. He is the only representative of the entire country who is elected directly by the population. The list of the Federal President’s powers was established in the 1929 constitutional amendment, which attributed more powers to the President than did the Constitution of 1920.
In addition to his powers rooted in the constitution, it is the Federal President's responsibility to offer moral support to his country. In particular, his tasks include the integration of minorities into the political process and the protection of the democracy. Extensive experience in politics, a steady positioning within the population, competence in all spheres of life and the political arena, and non-partisanship are seen as essential prerequisites for a presidential candidate. By means of this combination of constitutional rights and the above powers of the President, the state can thus efficiently guarantee the separation of powers. All of the Federal presidents of the First and the Second Republic have fulfilled these tasks in their own way, thus decisively shaping Austria's progress over the past 60 years.
(Source: Österreichische Präsidentschaftfskanzlei, www.bundespräsident.at)