The Federal President
Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen was inaugurated as the Federal President of the Republic of Austria on January 26, 2017.
As a member of the Green Party, he served as Federal Spokesperson from 1997 to 2008, as well as the Chairman of the Greens’ Parliamentary Group from 1999 to 2008. He was a member of the National Council (the Austrian House of Representatives) from 1994 to 2012, and a member of the Vienna State Parliament and Vienna City Council from 2012 to 2015. He was appointed a full professor in Economics at the University of Vienna, and served as Deputy Dean and then Dean of the University of Vienna School of Social and Economic Sciences.
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.