President of Austria facts for kids

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President of Austria
Flag of Austria (state).svg
Austria Bundesadler 2.svg
Frauen-Fußballnationalmannschaft Österreich EM 2017 Empfang Bundespräsident 10 Alexander Van der Bellen.jpg
Incumbent
Alexander Van der Bellen

since 26 January 2017
Executive branch in Austrian Politics
Presidential Chancellery
Style Mr. President
(normally)
His Excellency
(diplomatic)
Residence Leopoldine Wing, Hofburg Imperial Palace
Seat Innere Stadt, Vienna
Nominator Political parties or self-nomination
Appointer Direct popular vote
sworn in by the Federal Assembly
Term length Six years, renewable once
Constituting instrument Constitution of Austria
Precursor President of the Constituent National Assembly
Formation
  • Date established:
    1 October 1920
  • Date effective:
    10 November 1920
First holder Michael Hainisch
Salary €328,000 annually
Website (in German)

The President of Austria (German: Bundespräsident der Republik Österreich) is the head of state of the Austrian Republic. Though theoretically entrusted with great power by the Constitution, in practice the President is largely a ceremonial and symbolic figurehead.

The President is directly elected by universal suffrage every six years and can continuously remain in office for twelve years. The President is – along with the Ministers, State Secretaries and members of state cabinets – a supreme executive organ. One of the best known and most important presidential tasks is the appointment of the Chancellor and, upon his advice, the other members of Cabinet.

The President ranks first in Austria's order of precedence, being ahead of the President of the National Council and the Chancellor. Presidential workplaces are located in the Leopoldine Wing of the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna.

The office of President was formed by the Constitution on 1 October 1920. The constitutional amendment of 1929 established that the President was to be elected by the people. Nevertheless, the re-election of President Wilhelm Miklas in 1931 was conducted by the Federal Assembly. Even Karl Renner was still elected by the Federal Assembly in 1945. Ultimately, Theodor Körner became the first President to be elected by the people in 1951.

Most presidents have gained tremendous popularity while in office, and no President has ever lost a bid for re-election, although Kurt Waldheim did not run for a second term. Five Presidents have died in office. From 2004 to 2016, the office was occupied by social democrat Heinz Fischer. Since the formation of the popular vote in 1951, only members and nominees of the Social Democratic Party and the People's Party had been elected President, until the election of the Green-endorsed incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen in 2016.

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