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Government Austria-Hungary (Twilight of a New Era)

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Government Austria-Hungary

Federal Government

The executive branch of the Federal government consists of the Emperor-King and the Federal Council of Ministers.

The Federal Council of Ministers is composed of the Federal Chancellor, Federal Vice-Chancellors and federal ministers. The Federal Council is chaired by the Federal Chancellor. The Federal Chancellor determines the political guidelines of his government and is responsible to the House of Representatives. The Federal Council is collectively responsible to the Federal Assembly and can be forced to resign by a motion of no confidence passed by the House of Representatives.

The members of the Federal Council of Ministers are collectively responsible for all government policy. The Federal Chancellor is responsible for guiding the Federal Council of Ministers; the Federal Chancellor decides what direction their policies will take and bears the responsibility. The federal ministers have the freedom to carry out their duties independently but must follow the Federal Chancellor's directive. This is known as the Ressortprinzip or principle of departmentalization. The Federal Chancellor decides the scope of each minister's duties. If two ministers disagree on a particular point, the cabinet resolves the conflict by majority vote (Kollegialprinzip or principle of deference).

The Federal Chancellor and Federal Vice-Chancellors must be members of the House of Representatives. For the rest of the federal ministers its optional to be or not a member of the federal parliament. The Emperor-King appoints and dismisses the federal ministers and state secretaries, on recommendation of the Federal Chancellor.

Only by law can the Federal Ministries be established. The Ministries can divide or assign their departmental obligation on the Secretaries of State. The secretaries of state can attend the meeting of the Federal Council of Ministers upon request or when it deals with affairs under their management. The secretaries of state must not be members of the Parliament.

Federal Council of Ministers (composition)

  • Federal Chancellor
  • Federal Vice-Chancellors (from one to three)
  • Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Federal Minister of Defense
  • Federal Minister of the Treasury, renamed Federal Minister of Finances
  • Federal Minister of Justice
  • Federal Minister of Post, Railroads, Roads and Waterways
  • Federal Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation
  • Federal Minister of Health, Labor and Social Welfare
  • Federal Minister of Higher Education

State Governments

The states have a parliamentary form of government: the legislatures are popularly elected for four or five years (depending on the state), and the Minister-President is then chosen by a majority vote among the legislature's members. The Minister-President appoints a cabinet to run the state's agencies and to carry out the executive duties of the state's government.

The executive branch of the states government consists of the State Governor and the Minister-President (Prime Minister or Chancellor in some states), who along the ministers collectively form the State Council.

The State Council usually has three to nine ministers. It remains in office has long as it has the support or approval of the State Assembly. The State Council has the power to dissolve and call for new elections of state assembly.

The States have delegated executive and legislative powers according to the a) Federal Constitution, b) legislative and administrative devolved powers, and c) collaboration contracts in the areas of education, cultural affairs and policies, ethnic and linguistic affairs and policies, economic policy and development, police, public welfare, land management, public health, state public works, nature conservation, regional planning, and public service regulations.

Organization of State Governments Executive and Legislative
State Representative Emperor-King Executive Legislative
Bohemia Guvernér Minister-President and State Council bicameral Czech National Council (Česká národní rada), composed of Senate and Chamber of Representatives
German Austria Landeshauptmann Minister-President (Ministerpräsiden) and the State Council (Staatsrat) bicameral Parliament (Parlament), composed of Federal Council (Bundesrat) and National Council (Nationalrat))
German Bohemia Landeshauptmann Minister-President (Ministerpräsiden) and the State Council (Staatsrat) unicameral Landtag
Hungary State Governor (Kormányzó) Minister-President (Miniszterelnök) and State Council (Államtanács) unicameral National Assembly or Diet (Országgyűlés)
Illyria State Governor (Ban) Minister-President and the State Council bicameral National Parliament, composed of Senate and National Assembly
Istria State Governor (Governatore) State-President and the State Council unicameral State Assembly
Ruthenia (former East Galicia) Governor (Губернатор) Prime Minister (прем'єр-міністр / prem'yer-ministr) and Executive Committee unicameral State Rada (державна рада / derzhavna), and after 1939 also the State Economic Council
Silesia Landeshauptmann Minister-President (Ministerpräsiden) and the State Council (Staatsrat) unicameral Landtag
Slovakia Guvernér Premier and State Council unicameral Slovak National Council (Slovenská národná rada)
Slovenia State Governor (Ban) Prime Minister (Predsednik vlade) and the National Council. unicameral National Assembly (Državni zbor)
Szeklerland State Governor (Kormányzó) Minister-President (Miniszterelnök) and State Council (Államtanács) unicameral Szekler National Council (Székely Nemzeti Tanác).
Transylvania Guvernator Minister-President (ministru-prezident) and Council of Ministers bicameral Transylvanian Diet (Dieta Transilvaniei), composed of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies
Trentino State Governor (Governatore) State-President (Presidente di Stato) and State Council (Consiglio di Stato) unicameral State Assembly (Assamblea di Stato)
West Galicia (member of Austria-Hungary until 1926) Gubernator Minister-President and Executive Committee (Rada Państwa) unicameral Seym of Galicia (Diet of Galicia)

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