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Electoral procedure

Election of the Federal President

The Federal President is elected directly by the citizens of the Republic - i.e., by all citizens who are entitled to vote - by secret ballot in a free and fair popular general election to a term of six years. The Federal President can be re-elected only once immediately following the first term. If only one candidate stands for election, the election takes the form of a referendum.

The Right to Vote

Anyone entitled to vote in the National Assembly election has the right to vote in the presidential election. Since 2004 voting in the election of the Federal President is no longer compulsory in any of the Austrian federal states.

Eligibility for Office

Only someone eligible to vote in the National Assembly election and who has reached his or her 35th birthday on election day can be elected Federal President. In fact, the youngest candidate to run in a presidential election was Dr. Heide Schmidt, at the age of 44, in 1992.

The Electoral Procedure in Detail

The details of the electoral procedure are regulated by the 1971 Presidential Election Act, as most recently changed by the 2011 amendments to the Electoral Law.
The Federal Government calls the election such that the newly-elected candidate can take office as soon as the outgoing President's term has ended. The announcement of the presidential election must include the election date and the filing date.
Names of proposed candidates must be submitted to the federal electoral authorities no later than 30 days before election day. Each nomination must be signed by at least 6,000 eligible voters. An amount of €3,600 must be paid at the same time as a contribution to the costs of the electoral procedure.
The Central Electoral Authority must announce the election results immediately in the Official Gazette (Amtsblatt zur Wiener Zeitung). The presidential election can be contested at the Constitutional Court. If the election is not contested or a challenge is disallowed, the Federal Chancellor must announce the election results in the Federal Law Gazette at once, whereupon the incumbent Federal President or the President's representative must promptly convoke the Federal Assembly for the inauguration.