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Austrian People's Party
Österreichische Volkspartei
Leader Michael Spindelegger
Founded 17 April 1945
Preceded by Christian Social Party
Headquarters Lichtenfelsgasse 7
A-1010 Vienna
Ideology Christian democracy
Economic liberalism
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation International Democrat Union
European affiliation European People's Party
European Parliament group European People's Party
Colours Black
National Council: Template:Infobox political party/seats
Federal Council: Template:Infobox political party/seats
European Parliament: Template:Infobox political party/seats
Politics of Austria
Political parties

The Austrian People's Party (German: Österreichische Volkspartei, ÖVP) is a Christian democratic[1][2][3][4][5] and conservative[1][5][6] political party in Austria. A successor to the Christian Social Party of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it is similar to the Christian Democratic Union of Germany in terms of ideology, with both operating as catch-all parties of the centre-right.[7] The Austrian People's Party was founded immediately following the reestablishment of the Federal 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 is currently the smaller partner in a coalition government with the SPÖ, with ÖVP party leader Michael Spindelegger as Vice-Chancellor of Austria.


The Austrian People's Party represents conservatism, running on a platform of traditions and stability of social order. In particular, it is expressly uninterested in strengthening Austria's incomplete separation of church and state, appearing to be somewhat sceptical of affirmative action, rights for sexual minorities, and other forms of social engineering. For most of its existence, the People's Party has explicitly defined itself as Catholic and anti-socialist; the ideal of subsidiarity as defined by the encyclical Quadragesimo Anno is generally considered[by whom?] one of the historical cornerstones of its agenda.

For the first election after World War II, ÖVP presented itself as the Austrian Party („die österreichische Partei“), was decidedly anti-Marxist and regarded itself as the Party of the Centre („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.

As of 2013, with regard to economic policy, the Austrian People's Party advocates economic liberalization, endorsing the reduction of Austria's relatively large public sector, welfare reform, and general deregulation. With regard to foreign affairs it strongly supports European integration. Over the last two decades, the People's Party has also adopted a more environmentalist stance than other similar conservative parties.


The Austrian People's Party is popular mainly amongst white-collar workers, large and small business owners, and farmers. In particular, it is backed by a majority of Austria's civil servants, a remarkably large and influential group due to the size and scope of Austria's government bureaucracy. Austria's blue-collar workers, by comparison, tend to endorse the Social Democratic Party and the Freedom Party. All in all, People's Party supporters are comparatively educated and affluent.


The Austrian People's Party 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 Austrian People's 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 Hitler, the regime built by Dollfuß was authoritarian in nature and has been dubbed as "Austrofascism". In its present form, the People's Party was established immediately after the restoration of Austria's independence in 1945; it has been represented in both the Federal Assembly ever since. In terms of Federal Assembly seats, the People's Party has consistently been the strongest or second-strongest party; as such, it has led or at least been a partner in most Austria's federal cabinets.


At the state level, the People's Party 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.

Federal Government

The ÖVP was the senior partner in a grand coalition government from 1945 to 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 Austrian legislative election, 1999, the People's Party formed in 2000 a coalition government with the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria of its then-leader Jörg Haider. 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 EU international offices.[8] Austria, in turn, threatened to veto all applications by countries for EU membership until the sanctions were lifted.[9] 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". In November 2002, the 2002 legislative election resulted in a landslide victory (42.27% of the vote) for the People's Party under the leadership of Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel. Haider's Freedom Party, which in 1999 was slightly stronger than Schüssel's party, was reduced to 10.16% of the vote. After the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) had split from the FPÖ in 2005, so that they could continue their coalition together with the People's Party until 2007. Austria for the first time had a government containing of a party that was founded during the term of legislature.

In the 2006 election, the People's Party were defeated and after much negotiations agreed to become part of a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party of Austria, 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 party lose 15 seats with a 8.35% decrease in its share of the vote.

The ÖVP won the largest share of the vote (30.0% (−2.7%)) in the 2009 election for the European Parliament with 846,709 votes (+28,993) but their number of seats remained the same.

Chairpersons since 1945

The chart below shows a timeline of the Christian Democratic 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, the Roman numeral stands for the cabinets.

ImageSize = width:400 height:530 PlotArea = width:350 height:450 left:50 bottom:50 Legend = columns:3 left:50 top:25 columnwidth:50

DateFormat = yyyy Period = from:1945 till:2011 TimeAxis = orientation:vertical ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:5 start:1945

  1. there is no automatic collision detection,
  2. so shift texts up or down manually to avoid overlap


 id:ÖVP  value:gray(0.25) legend:ÖVP
 id:SPÖ  value:red    legend:SPÖ
  1. id:FPÖ value:blue legend:FPÖ

Define $dx = 25 # shift text to right side of bar Define $dy = -4 # adjust height


 bar:CP color:red width:25 mark:(line,white) align:left fontsize:S
 from:1945  till:1945 shift:($dx,1)    color:ÖVP    text:Leopold Kunschak
 from:1945  till:1952 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Leopold Figl
 from:1952  till:1960 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Julius Raab
 from:1960  till:1963 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Alfons Gorbach
 from:1963  till:1970 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Josef Klaus
 from:1970  till:1971 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Hermann Withalm
 from:1971  till:1975 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Karl Schleinzer
 from:1975  till:1979 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Josef Taus
 from:1979  till:1989 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Alois Mock
 from:1989  till:1991 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Josef Riegler
 from:1991  till:1995 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Erhard Busek
 from:1995  till:2007 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Wolfgang Schüssel
 from:2007  till:2008 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Wilhelm Molterer
 from:2008  till:2011 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Josef Pröll
 from:2011  till:end shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text: Michael Spindelegger
 bar:Govern. color:red width:25 mark:(line,white) align:left fontsize:7
 from:1945  till:1946 shift:($dx,-2)    color:SPÖ    text:Renner
 from:1946  till:1949 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Figl I
 from:1949  till:1952 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Figl II
 from:1952  till:1953 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Figl III
 from:1953  till:1956 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Raab I
 from:1956  till:1959 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Raab II
 from:1959  till:1960 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Raab III
 from:1960  till:1961 shift:($dx,-2)    color:ÖVP    text:Raab IV
 from:1961  till:1963 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Gorbach I
 from:1963  till:1964 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Gorbach II
 from:1964  till:1966 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Klaus I
 from:1966  till:1970 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Klaus II
 from:1970  till:1971 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Kreisky I
 from:1971  till:1975 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Kreisky II
 from:1975  till:1979 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Kreisky III
 from:1979  till:1983 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Kreisky IV
 from:1983  till:1986 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Sinowatz
 from:1986  till:1987 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Vranitzky I
 from:1987  till:1990 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Vranitzky II
 from:1990  till:1994 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Vranitzky III
 from:1994  till:1996 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Vranitzky IV
 from:1996  till:1997 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Vranitzky V
 from:1997  till:2000 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Klima
 from:2000  till:2003 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Schüssel I
 from:2003  till:2007 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:ÖVP    text:Schüssel II
 from:2007  till:2008 shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Gusenbauer
 from:2008  till:end shift:($dx,$dy)    color:SPÖ    text:Faymann


External links


  • Austrian People's Party (official site)
  • Austrian People's Party Country Studies – Austria
  • Austrian People's Party page on the European People's Party website

Template:European People's Party Template:International Democrat Union

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