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Parliament of Austria-Hungary (Twilight of a New Era)

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The Federal Parliament is the supreme legislative and constituent body of Austria-Hungary. The Parliament is a bicameral legislative body composed of the Imperial Council (Reichrat) and the House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus). All federal laws must be approved by the Parliament. The Federal Council of Ministers is answerable to the House of Representatives and can be forced to resign by a motion of no confidence.

Imperial Council (Reichrat)

The Imperial Council (Reichrat) is integrated by the delegates of the state governments and vote upon their orders. Each state has a given number of votes according to its rank in the total population of the Federation. The states have 3 to 6 block votes, after the amendment of 1930 they have 3 to 9. The Reichsrat as the right to veto federal laws passed by the House of Representatives. Moreover in most cases a Imperial Council's veto is just suspensive, meaning the House of Representatives can override it, passing the law again by ordinary resolution of at least half of its members. In the following cases, though, the Imperial Council's approval is mandatory:

  • Constitutional laws or regulations limiting the competencies of the federal states
  • Laws relating to the rights of the Federal Council itself
  • Treaties concerning the jurisdiction of the federal states.
  • Constitutional changes require an approval with majority of 2/3 of all votes in House of Representatives and Reichsrat.
Composition of block votes in Reichrat
State1920-19261927-19301930 to date
Bohemia 6 5 8
German Austria 6 6 9
German Bohemia 4 4 6
Hungary 6 6 9
Illyria 6 6 8
Istria 3 3 3
Ruthenia (former East Galicia) 5 5 7
Silesia 3 3 4
Slovakia 4 4 5
Slovenia (former Carniola) 4 4 5
Szeklerland 3 3 4
Transylvania 5 5 7
Trentino 3 3 3
West Galicia (until 1926) 5 - -
Total: 63 (1920-1926), 58 (1926-1927) 57 (1927-1930)  78 (1930 to date)

Note: In 1927 States votes were reassigned after West Galicia left Austria-Hungary, which meant Bohemia lost one vote from previous allocation. The Constitutional reform of 1930 reassigned votes: 3 to 9 block votes.

House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus)

The House of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus) is integrated by 200 directly elected deputies by proportional representation. Each state is assigned its seats according to its population. The House of Representatives as a mandate of five years, unless it is dissolved within one year of its elections bringing about immediate new elections.

Seats in the House of Representatives
State1920-19291929 to date
Bohemia 21 23
German Austria 36 40
German Bohemia 9 10
Hungary 36 40
Illyria 22 25
Istria 2 2
Ruthenia (former East Galicia) 17 18
Silesia 3 3
Slovakia 8 9
Slovenia (former Carniola) 5 6
Szeklerland 3 3
Transylvania 18 20
Trentino 1 2
West Galicia (until 1926) 19 -
Total: 200 (1920-1926), 181 (1926-1929)  201 (1929 to date)

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