Austrian People's Party
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|Parliamentary leader||August Wöginger|
|Managing director||Axel Melchior|
|Founded||17 April 1945|
|Preceded by||None (de jure)|
Christian Social Party
(de facto, partly)
Fatherland Front (de facto, partly)
|Headquarters||Lichtenfelsgasse 7 A-1010 Vienna, Austria|
|European affiliation||European People's Party|
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|European Parliament group||European People's Party|
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136 / 440
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The Austrian People's Party (German: Österreichische Volkspartei; ÖVP) is a conservative Christian-democratic political party in Austria. A successor to the Christian Social Party of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was founded immediately following the reestablishment of the Republic of Austria in 1945 and since then has been one of the two largest Austrian political parties with the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ). In federal governance, the ÖVP has spent most of the postwar era in a grand coalition with the SPÖ. However, the ÖVP won the 2017 election, having the greatest number of seats and formed a coalition with the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). Its chairman Sebastian Kurz was the youngest Chancellor in Austrian history.
The ÖVP is conservative. For most of its existence, it has explicitly defined itself as Catholic and anti-socialist, with the ideals of subsidiarity, as defined by the encyclical Quadragesimo anno, and decentralization.
For the first election after World War II, the ÖVP presented itself as the Austrian Party (German: die österreichische Partei), was anti-Marxist and regarded itself as the Party of the Center (German: Partei der Mitte). The ÖVP consistently held power—either alone or in so-called Black-Red coalition with the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ)—until 1970, when the SPÖ formed a minority government with the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ). The ÖVP's economic policies during the era generally upheld a social market economy.
The party's campaign for the 2017 general election under the young chairman Sebastian Kurz was dominated by a promised crackdown on illegal immigration and the fight against political Islam, similar to the program of the FPÖ, the party that Kurz chose as coalition partner after the ÖVP won the election.
The ÖVP is the successor of the Christian Social Party, a staunchly conservative movement founded in 1893 by Karl Lueger, mayor of Vienna and highly controversial right-wing populist. Most of the members of the party during its founding belonged to the former Fatherland Front, which was led by chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, also a member of the Christian Social Party before the Anschluss. While still sometimes honored by ÖVP members for resisting Adolf Hitler, the regime built by Dollfuss was authoritarian in nature and has been dubbed as Austrofascism. In its present form, the ÖVP was established immediately after the restoration of Austria's independence in 1945 and it has been represented in both the Federal Assembly ever since. In terms of Federal Assembly seats, the ÖVP has consistently been the strongest or second-strongest party and as such it has led or at least been a partner in most Austria's federal cabinets.
This section needs to be updated.October 2017)(
In November 1945, the ÖVP won a sweeping victory in Austria's first postwar election, winning almost half the popular vote and an absolute majority in the legislature. However, memories of the hyper-partisanship that had plagued the First Republic prompted the ÖVP to maintain the grand coalition with the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) that had governed the country since the restoration of independence in early 1945. The ÖVP remained the senior partner in this coalition until 1966 and governed alone from 1966 to 1970. It reentered the government in 1986, but has never been completely out of power since the restoration of Austrian independence in 1945 due to a longstanding tradition that all major interest groups were to be consulted on policy.
After the 1999 legislative election, several months of negotiations ended in early 2000 when the ÖVP formed a coalition government with the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) led by Jörg Haider. The FPÖ had won just a few hundred more votes than the ÖVP, but was considered far too controversial to lead a government. The ÖVP's Wolfgang Schüssel became Chancellor—the first ÖVP Chancellor of Austria since 1970. This caused widespread outrage in Europe and the European Union imposed informal diplomatic sanctions on Austria, the first time that it imposed sanctions on a member state. Bilateral relations were frozen (including contacts and meetings at an inter-governmental level) and Austrian candidates would not be supported for posts in European Union international offices. Austria threatened to veto all applications by countries for European Union membership until the sanctions were lifted. A few months later, these sanctions were dropped as a result of a fact-finding mission by three former European prime ministers, the so-called "three wise men". The 2002 legislative election resulted in a landslide victory (42.27% of the vote) for the ÖVP under Schüssel. Haider's FPÖ was reduced to 10.16% of the vote.
After the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) split from the FPÖ in 2005, the BZÖ replaced the FPÖ in the government coalition, which lasted until 2007. Austria for the first time had a government containing of a party that was founded during the parliamentary term.
In the 2006 legislative election, the ÖVP were defeated and after much negotiations agreed to become junior partner in a grand coalition with the SPÖ, with new party chairman Wilhelm Molterer as Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor under SPÖ leader Alfred Gusenbauer, who became Chancellor. The next legislative election in 2008 saw the ÖVP lose 15 seats with an 8.35% decrease in its share of the vote.
The ÖVP won the largest share of the vote (30.0%) in the 2009 European elections with 846,709, votes but their number of seats remained the same.
At the state level, the ÖVP has long dominated the rural states of Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol and Vorarlberg. It is less popular in the city state of Vienna and in the rural, but less strongly Catholic states of Burgenland and Carinthia. In 2004, it lost its plurality in the State of Salzburg, where they kept its result in seats (14) in 2009 and in 2005 in Styria for the first time.
Chairpersons since 1945
The chart below shows a timeline of ÖVP chairpersons and the Chancellors of Austria. The left black bar shows all the chairpersons (Bundesparteiobleute, abbreviated as CP) of the ÖVP party and the right bar shows the corresponding make-up of the Austrian government at that time. The red (SPÖ) and black (ÖVP) colours correspond to which party led the federal government (Bundesregierung, abbreviated as Govern). The last names of the respective Chancellors are shown, with the Roman numeral standing for the cabinets.
|Election year||No. of total votes||% of overall vote||No. of seats||Government|
85 / 165
77 / 165
74 / 165
82 / 165
79 / 165
81 / 165
85 / 165
78 / 165
80 / 183
80 / 183
77 / 183
81 / 183
77 / 183
60 / 183
52 / 183
52 / 183
52 / 183
79 / 183
66 / 183
51 / 183
47 / 183
62 / 183
0 / 183
|Election||Candidate||First round result||Second round result|
|2016||Andreas Khol||475,767||11.1%||5th place|
|Election year||No. of total votes||% of overall vote||No. of seats|
7 / 21
7 / 21
6 / 18
6 / 17
5 / 18
7 / 18
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- Binder, Dieter A. (2004). Michael Gehler; Wolfram Kaiser (eds.). 'Rescuing the Christian Occident': The People's Party in Austria. Christian Democracy in Europe since 1945. Routledge. pp. 121–134. ISBN 0-7146-5662-3.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Austrian People's Party.|
- Official website ‹See Tfd›(in German)
- Austrian People's Party Country Studies – Austria
- Austrian People's Party page on the European People's Party website