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Austria votes on September 28

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July 30, 2008

 On September 28, 2008 Austria will elect a new National Council (first chamber of Parliament). The resolution calling for an early general election was passed by the National Council on July 9, 2008. All five factions accepted the three party motion of the Austrian Social Democrats (SPÖ), the People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Greens to terminate the 23rd legislative period prematurely.

One day later (July 10, 2008) the Council of Ministers issued a decree fixing the official election date (September 28, 2008) and the election reference date (July 29, 2008). This decree was endorsed by the Main Committee of the National Council. President Heinz Fischer requested the two main parties to conclude this legislative period “with dignity and style“. 

About 6,350,000 Austrians are entitled to vote. The increase in the number of qualified voters from 6,107,892 in the National Council elections in 2006 is due to the fact that 16 and 17 year olds will for the first time be permitted to vote. Vote by mail has been introduced, and the legislative period has been extended from four to five years. 

Federal Chancellor Gusenbauer will not seek reelection. The top candidate of the SPÖ is party chairman designate Werner Faymann. The ÖVP’s top candidate in the campaign is Vice Chancellor and ÖVP chief Molterer.