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Social Democratic Party of Austria

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Social Democratic Party of Austria (German:

Sozialdemokratische Partei sterreichs, SP) is a socialdemocratic[1][3] political party in Austria. The SP has
ties to the Austrian Trade Union Federation (GB) and
the Austrian Chamber of Labour (AK). Currently the
largest party in the National Council and second largest in
the Federal Council, the SP currently governs in
coalition with the Austrian People's Party (VP), with
former SP leader Werner Faymann having served as
Chancellor of Austria from 2008 to May 2016.

1 History
1.1 From the beginnings until 1918
1.2 First Republic
1.2.1 Establishment of the First
1.2.2 Red Vienna
1.3 During Austrofascism
1.4 During the beginning of the Second
1.5 The Bruno Kreisky era

Social Democratic Party of Austria

Sozialdemokratische Partei sterreichs




Michael Hupl


30 December 1888 (as SDAP)

Preceded by

Social Democratic Workers'

Party of Austria


Lwelstrae 18
A-1014 Vienna

Student wing

Socialist Students of Austria

Youth wing

Socialist Youth Austria


Social democracy[1][2]
Democratic socialism

Political position



Party of European Socialists


Progressive Alliance,
Socialist International

Progressive Alliance of
Parliament group Socialists and Democrats


National Council: 52 / 183

1.6 Second grand coalition phase with

1.7 Problems with Proporz
2 New role as opposition party and return to
2.1 Confronting the past of 19381945
3 Election results by states
3.1 Burgenland
3.2 Carinthia
3.3 Lower Austria
3.4 Salzburg

Federal Council: 24 / 62

5 / 18
Website (
Politics of Austria
Political parties

3.5 Styria
3.6 Tyrol
3.7 Upper Austria
3.8 Vienna
3.9 Vorarlberg
4 Party chairmen since 1945
5 Select list of other SP politicians
6 Minority factions
7 See also
8 References
9 Literature
10 External links

From the beginnings until 1918
Socialist and worker's movements and associations had already started to form in Austria by the mid-19th
century. The party's first meeting took place in 1874 in Neudrfl in what later became Burgenland. The
following years saw factional infighting, and the party split into moderate and anarchist factions.
It was united in 1889 as the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria (German: Sozialdemokratische
Arbeiterpartei sterreichs, SDAP) through the work of Doctor Victor Adler. At the party congress in
Hainfeld, the party decided to accept Adler's Declaration of Principles on 30 December 1888. 1 January
1889 is therefore considered the party's founding date. On 12 July 1889 the first issue of the party newspaper
the Arbeiter-Zeitung was printed. Initially close to Marxism, the party continued to grow especially in
Vienna and the industrial areas of Bohemia, Moravia, Styria, Lower Austria and Upper Austria.
The party participated in the founding of the Second International in Paris on 14 July 1889. The party
campaigned for more rights for workers, including their right to vote. In the Brnner Programm of
September 1899, the Socialists demanded that the Austro-Hungarian Empire be reformed into a federal
democratic state.
The Social Democrats were allowed to run in the City Council (Gemeinderat) elections of Vienna on 30
May 1890.
In Trieste the Italian-speaking "Social Democratic League" (Lega Social Democratica) decided at its
congress in December 1897 to change its name to "Adriatic Italian Section of the Social Democratic
Workers' Party of Austria" (Sezione Italian Adriatica del Partito dei Lavoratori Social Democratici in

Austria). Notably, the Trieste Socialists preferred to use the label "socialist" rather than "social democrat".[4]
In 1907, after a general strike, universal suffrage was granted. In the elections to the House of Deputies in
the Reichsrat, the Social Democrats were able to win many votes. Out of a total of 516 seats, the party won
87 seats, becoming the second strongest fraction in parliament after the Christian Social Party. Eventually,
by 1911, the Socialists became the strongest party in parliament.
The party initially supported the declaration of war against Serbia after the Assassination in Sarajevo of
Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg in 1914, but soon realised that the
disastrous war was untenable. After the death of Emperor Franz Joseph, the first peace-meeting was held in
December 1916. By January 1918, strikes were breaking out, calling for an end of the war and the terrible
suffering that the people, especially the worker's families, had to endure.
By October, a provisional national assembly ("Provisorische Nationalversammlung") was convened under
the Social Democrat Karl Renner, which tried to work out a provisional constitution (Provisorische
Verfassung) under the leadership of a new state council led by the new state chancellor Renner. The Social
Democrats wanted a new form of government and, on 12 November 1918, the republic was proclaimed by
Renner. Renner's government introduced an eight-hour workday and paid holidays.[5]

First Republic
The party had moderate success in the 1920s, but its conflict with right wing forces escalated until it was
defeated in the Austrian Civil War.
Establishment of the First Republic
The SDAP played an important role in the establishment of the First Republic. On November 11, 1918,
Emperor Charles I relinquished his right to take part in Austrian affairs of state. The following day Karl
Renner was declared Chancellor of the Republic of German-Austria.
The Bohemian provincial organization of SDAP held a conference in Teplice 31 August 3 September
1919 at which it re-constituted itself as a separate party, the German Social Democratic Workers Party in the
Czechoslovak Republic.[6]
The party clearly wanted to steer Austria towards political union with Germany, calling the new Austrian
republic "Deutsch-sterreich" (German-Austria). But the Treaty of St. Germain clearly forbade any
unification between Austria and Germany. The SDAP nevertheless still advocated such a union during the
existence of the First Republic, as they hoped for a strengthening of their position and the socialist cause
within a Greater Germany.
In the first elections for the constitutional national assembly on 16 February 1919, women were allowed to
vote for the first time. The SDAP became the strongest party and formed a grand coalition with the antiAnschluss[7] Christian Social Party (CS).
Red Vienna
In May, elections for the city council of Vienna followed: out of 165 mandates the social democrats won 100
seats. Jakob Reumann became the first social-democratic mayor of Vienna. Vienna was going to continue to
be the stronghold of the socialists in a largely conservative-governed nation. The socialist-led city
government built the first Gemeindebauten for the working class, such as the Karl-Marx-Hof, Sandleitenhof,

and the public housing estates on the Grtel ring road, and instituted social, healthcare and educational
reforms. These measures indeed ameliorated the living conditions for workers and raised their standard of
living. This deepened the ties of workers towards the party and created a large pool of loyalists on whom the
party could always depend, giving rise to the term "Rotes Wien" (Red Vienna) of the 1920s.
The party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International between 1923 and 1940.[8]
Within the grand coalition, the parties were able to agree on a package of reforms such as the 8-hour-day (8Stunden-Tag), the workers council law (Betriebsrtegesetz) and negotiations for a new republican
constitution, which came into force on 10 November 1920. After the parliamentary elections in October
1920, the SDAP left the grand coalition after the CS won the majority of votes. The Socialists would
remain in opposition during the First Republic.
But the SDAP continued to be internally divided in roughly two wings: on the one side were the moderates
under the leadership of former chancellor Karl Renner, who advocated a parliamentary, liberal democracy
and the welfare state; on the other side were the more radical Austromarxists under the leadership of Otto
Bauer. Especially the latter part did not wish any further cooperation with the CS, which led to an increase
in political instability over time as political views became grew more extreme and fractious.
Feeling increasingly under threat, most political parties formed their own military wings. In May 1924, the
SDAP founded its own paramilitary wing, the Republikanischer Schutzbund (Republican Protection
League). The Communist Party of Austria (KP) formed its Red Brigades and the conservative CS followed
suit, founding its Heimwehr (Homeland Protection Force). The existence of armed political militias and
vigilante groups, alongside the regular police and army forces, did not bode well for the stability of the
young republic. The founding of these militias was a response to increased political tension, but also
aggravated it, increasing the chances of open, violent clashes as political parties within parliament continued
their fighting. On 3 November 1926, the so-called "Linzer Programm" was agreed upon at the SDAP party
convention, which was heavily influenced by Otto Bauer's wing and reinforced the differences between the
opposition Christian Social Party and the Social Democrats.
On 30 January 1927, members of the conservative Heimwehr shot at
members of the Republikanischer Schutzbund in Schattendorf, resulting in
two deaths. In the Schattendorfer Urteil trial that followed, the jury found
the accused not guilty in July 1927. Members of the Republikanischer
Schutzbund, the SDAP, and workers were outraged by this verdict and
launched demonstrations on 15 July to protest. The mob vented its
frustration, and eventually moved towards the Palace of Justice, setting it on
fire. Clashes with the police left 85 workers and four policemen dead and up
to 600 people were injured. The burning of the Palace of Justice and the
bloodshed surrounding it symbolised a break within the republic, marking
the coming end of democracy.

Logo of the SDAP

The political atmosphere became increasingly poisoned and untenable. The

conservatives shored their position against the Social Democrats, and on 18 May 1930 the Heimwehr of the
CS issued its Korneuburger Eid (Oath of Korneuburg), in which it openly called for the overthrow of the
parliamentary democracy ("Wir verwerfen den westlichen demokratischen Parlamentarismus und den
Parteienstaat!")[9] Both under the Austro-fascist dictatorship (19341938) and during the German
occupation of Austria between 1938 and 1945, the SDAP was banned and persecuted heavily, but after
liberation, the Social Democrats became a major political force in post-war Austria.

During Austrofascism

On 7 March 1933, parliament in effect shut itself down due to a minor technicality in the parliamentary
procedures. During a vote impasse, the collective presidency of the lower house stepped down from office
and in effect left the house without a speaker or chair. Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfu seized the
opportunity to circumvent parliament and govern with a number of emergency decrees through an
emergency powers act from 1917.[10] Pressure was increased on the SDAP, political activities were
increasingly curtailed, press censorship increased. The Social Democrats protested and rallied their forces in
the worker's strongholds in Vienna, Linz, and other industrial areas and towns. Tension openly erupted on 12
February 1934, when the police entered the local party headquarters in Linz for a search. The socialist
militia resisted the police force, during the course of the week armed fighting broke out in Vienna and other
SDAP strongholds such as industrial areas. The army was called in to crush the uprising in Vienna,
shelling the Karl-Marx-Hof where members of the Schutzbund were holed up. The civil war lasted until 16
February, in the end the social-democratic movement was completely outlawed, most of the leadership
arrested. The end of the civil war marked the definite end of the First Republic and the start of the Austrofascist state under the leadership of Dollfu.
The crushing of the Social Democrats opposition by the conservatives however meant a further weakening
of Austria, as infighting within the Heimwehr and the conservatives continued. Chancellor Dollfu himself
was assassinated 10 weeks after the end of the civil war by National socialists. Adolf Hitler was increasingly
influencing political affairs in Austria. Nazi Germany was increasing the pressure by scheming and
manipulating political events, as well as planning and carrying out terrorist attacks on infrastructure within
Austria. The successor of Dollfu, the conservative chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg tried a new round of
talks with the outlawed social-democrats and even the monarchists, in order to stabilise the situation again.
The Socialist favoured democracy, but were lukewarm to the concept of an independent Austria. The
majority of conservatives wanted to keep an independent Austria, however in the form of an Austro-fascist
regime. The extreme fighting and enmity between the two parties resulted in both the abolition of democracy
and the end of Austria as an independent entity. On 12 March 1938, the weakened Austrian government
under Chancellor Schuschnigg was forced to step down by Hitler under the threat of war, and Austria was
annexed into Nazi Germany.
The Anschluss was initially enthusiastically greeted by many Social Democrats, such as the former
chancellor Karl Renner who pledged to vote "yes" in a referendum on the Anschluss ("Ich stimme mit
'Ja'")[11] and finally realise the old dream of a union with Germany. Although democracy was not in sight, at
least Hitler's policies promised more work and equality for many workers and labourers, as well as further
socialist reforms and political stability. The socialist enthusiasm that greeted Hitler however soon gave way
to the sobering reality of war and the Nazi occupation.

During the beginning of the Second Republic

The battle of Vienna between Soviet and Nazi forces was over on 13 April 1945. Immediately the party was
refounded as the "Socialist Party of Austria" (Sozialistische Partei sterreichs, SP). The first party
chairman was Adolf Schrf. After tyranny, war and destruction, the country had to be reconstructed while
enduring hunger and deprivation. The traumatic experience under German rule brought a swing in domestic
opinion away from Pan-Germanism and towards the idea of Austria as an independent, sovereign and
democratic country. The two former enemies, the conservatives and the Socialists, put aside their differences
in order to work towards the prosperity and renewed sovereignty of the country. Both sides entered into a
grand coalition government that would last for the next 21 years until 1966.
The Soviet Union had the most influence as an occupying allied power in the immediate post-war years.
Joseph Stalin was interested in integrating the newly liberated Austria into the Soviet bloc. The Communist
Party of Austria were the only party who could claim to have consistently fought against the Nazi regime,
and they largely lay under the protection and guidance from Moscow. Any new Austrian government would

therefore have to integrate them as well. Karl Renner tried to position himself as the man of the hour who
could act as a bridge between the conservatives and the communists. The Soviets and the other allied powers
had large reservations about Renner, whom they viewed as an opportunist. Renner tried to convince a
sceptical Stalin in a letter, where he expressed his mea culpa for his previous support of the Anschluss, at the
same presenting himself as the only credible Socialist politician left able to reach an agreement with the
If Renner convinced Stalin, or if it was out of pure necessity, is not entirely clear, but the Soviets tentatively
decided to support Renner, maybe in order to win more influence over the government in time. With Soviet
support Karl Renner and Leopold Kunschak proclaimed a provisional Austrian state government on 27 April
1945 in the parliament building in Vienna. The proclamation aimed to re-establish an independent Austria.
Historic photographs show Renner reading out the proclamation in the old imperial Chamber of the House
of Representatives (Abgeordnetenhaus), with Soviet officers sitting in the back benches. This alarmed the
western allies, who feared a plot by the Soviets to establish a people's republic, a tactic that worked in
Hungary and East Germany, where the social democrats there were forcibly integrated with the communist
party. However, for the moment, the Austrian socialists were allowed to re-establish their party and operate
relatively freely. The new party also established their own newspaper, the "Arbeiter-Zeitung" on 4 August of
the same year.
Ex-chancellor Renner was elected as the new Federal President of Austria by the Federal Assembly on 20
October 1945. Renner would hold this office until his death on 31 December 1950. The party held its first
congress since 1933 in December 1945. The SP decided to make its peace with the conservatives, since
their fighting was partly responsible for the failure of the First Republic. The party entered an all
encompassing grand coalition with the Austrian People's Party (VP), the successor party of the old
Christian Social Party. This form of a grand coalition would last for the next 21 years until 1966.
After the death of Karl Renner in 1950, Theodor Krner was elected as Federal President on 26 May 1951.
In Frankfurt in Germany, the Socialist International was founded, of which the SP was one of the charter
members. In May 1957 Bruno Pittermann became party chairman. Former chairman Adolf Schrf was
elected as Federal President in April 1957 and re-elected for a second term in 1963. He was succeeded in
May 1965 by Franz Jonas, who also hailed from the socialist party.
The grand coalition governments of SP and VP were marked by a desire to stabilise the political and
social situation and concentrate on economic growth and social equality. One of the first acts of the grand
coalition was able to agree on a new law about worker's vacation regulations on 25 July 1946. The party
followed a rather moderate line and tried to cooperate with its coalition partner. Many state enterprises were
nationalised and the situation of the worker ameliorated with work incentives and social benefits. The
neutrality that was required by Austria meant that the country had little to worry about military spending and
obligations to any military block. Instead it tried to act as a mediator between two sides in any international
conflict, concentrating on tasks within the United Nations framework. Nevertheless, on 4 January 1960,
Foreign Minister Bruno Kreisky was able to sign the accession treaty of Austria into the European Free
Trade Association (EFTA).

The Bruno Kreisky era

In the parliamentary elections of April 1966, the VP won a governmental majority and was thus able to
rule alone. The Socialists left the grand coalition government, going into opposition. On 30 January 1967
Bruno Kreisky was elected as party chairman. In the National Council elections of March 1970, the SP
won with a relative majority, but was only able to build a minority government that counted on support from
the Freedom Party of Austria (FP). This government was short-lived: new snap elections had to be held in

October 1971. This time the SP was able to win the absolute majority in parliament. This ushered in a
period of Socialist-led governments for the next 13 years, led by the charismatic Bruno Kreisky who would
become one of the most important statesmen of the Second Republic.
In June 1974, the SP-nomimated candidate Rudolf Kirchschlger won the 1974 presidential election. On
the economic side, the 40-hour working week, a project by the SP, was passed in parliament and became
The success of the economy and the international high profile Austria was enjoying due to its neutrality
ushered in another victory for Kreisky and the SP in the legislative election of May 1979, where the party
won 51% of all votes. Nevertheless, the party failed to win another absolute majority in the following
elections in April 1983, Kreisky stepped down and Fred Sinowatz became the new chancellor and formed a
coalition government with the FP. Sinowatz later took over as party chairman from Kreisky in October of
the same year.
Sinowatz tried to rely on the liberal wing of the FP, however political infighting and the rise of the rightwing populist politician Jrg Haider to the chairmanship of the FP made a further coalition with its junior
partner for the SP impossible. Franz Vranitzky, who replaced Sinowatz in June 1986, ended the so-called
"small coalition" and called for fresh elections. In the November 1986 legislative election, the SP became
strongest party again and entered into a grand coalition with the VP. Vranitzky himself was elected as party
chairman in May 1988.

Second grand coalition phase with VP

The grand coalition government with the conservative VP as the junior
partner would last from 1988 until 2000.
In July 1990, Bruno Kreisky, who was the grand doyen of the party, died.
The end of the Cold War and the fall of the Iron Curtain confronted Austria
and the SP with changing realities. In October of the same year, the party
won and remained strongest party in parliament. In June 1991, the party
congress decided to change its name from the "Socialist Party of Austria" to
the "Social Democratic Party of Austria" (Sozialdemokratische Partei
sterreichs), thus shifting the emphasis from socialism to a reaffirmation to
its commitment to social democracy.
On issues of gender equality, the party congress decided in June 1993 to
introduce a quota for women. The new regulation required that at least 40%
of SP candidates are female.

SP party headquarters in

Chancellor Vranitzky tried to repair the damage to Austria's international

image caused by the presidential election of the controversial Kurt Waldheim. He was the first chancellor
who, in a speech in front of parliament, clearly spoke of the guilt Austrians carried during the Second World
War, something that was until then a topic that was taboo at home. He undertook a number of steps towards
reconciliation with victims, his state visit to Israel in 1983 was highly regarded. The SP also endorsed an
entry of the country into the European Union during negotiations with Brussels. In the national referendum
of 12 June 1994, over 66% percent of all voters voted "yes", Austria duly became a member of the European
Union on 1 January 1995.
Although the SP supported Austria's entry to the European Union, the party fared badly in the 1994
legislative election held in October 1994, but remained the strongest party in parliament. It was able to retain
that position in the December elections of 1995 where it gained votes back. In 1997, Chancellor Vranitzky

stepped back from office after more than 10 years in office to make way for the new generation, being
replaced by his former Finance Minister Viktor Klima, who was sworn in during January. In April 1997 he
also took over the position as party chairman.
The party congress decided on a reformed party programme in October 1998. The basic values of social
democracy, freedom, equality, justice and solidarity were reaffirmed. But the party also committed itself to
modernisation and a willingness to take risks and welcome change. A new, more open party statute was
passed. In order to reflect the new reforms, a new party logo was also introduced.

Problems with Proporz

The problem of the grand coalition in Austria was the continuation of the old Proporz system, where
basically any political position as well as the civil service, trade unions and even positions in the economy
and state businesses were occupied by either members of the two big parties. This system worked well in the
post-war period, however with the end of the Cold War and Austria's entry to the EU, people's perceptions
and opinions changed strongly. The old Proporz system, where basically the SP and the VP would divide
everything up between them, was increasingly seen as outdated and even undemocratic. Because both
parties always had an absolute majority in parliament, no effective opposition could ever exist. The long
period of grand coalitions lasted for over a decade, a period that was very unusual for any western,
parliamentary democracy.
As voters' frustration with the old system grew, the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FP)
under the young and dynamic party chairman Jrg Haider was able to ride the wave of discontent and win
votes in every parliamentary election. The FP had its core support with right-wing voters, but was
increasingly able to attract voters from the conservative VP and even made inroads with traditional SP
voters who grew fed up with the grand coalitions and the old Proporz system.
The 1999 legislative election was a great shock to the country's system. Although the SP lost votes, it was
still able to retain its position as the strongest party, but the FP became the second strongest party by a very
small margin ahead of the VP. Although federal president Thomas Klestil gave the Social Democrats the
order to form a new government, no coalition partner could be found. The VP under their leader Wolfgang
Schssel, who was Vice-Chancellor of Austria and Foreign Minister, entered into negotiations with the FP
instead. In February 2000, the new right-wing coalition government between the VP and the FP was
formed with Schssel as the new chancellor. This prompted a huge outcry at home as well as abroad, leading
even to sanctions by the EU and Israel pulling out its ambassador in protest to the far-right FP. For the first
time in 30 years, the SP had to sit in opposition.

New role as opposition party and return to power

The end of the grand coalition left many within the VP embittered with their party and its perceived sellout. Alfred Gusenbauer became new party chairman and started restructuring the party politically,
organisationally and financially.
In the snap elections of November 2002 the party lost its position as strongest party to the conservative VP,
which won a resounding victory at the expense of the Social Democrats and the FP. The SP got 36.5% of
the votes, ending up with 69 seats in the National Council. It had 23 seats in the Federal Council.
Nevertheless, in a number of state elections, the SP won an increased number of votes and even made
inroads in traditionally conservative-ruled states. Outside its traditional strongholds of Vienna and
Burgenland, the party surprisingly won state elections in Styria and Salzburg, forming the new state
governments there.

SP candidate Heinz Fischer won the presidential elections in April 2004 against VP contender Benita
Ferrero-Waldner. Thus an VP-led government stood opposite a Social Democrat president. President
Fischer repeatedly made statements that stood in contrast to the official stance of the government, such as
the speaking out for the equality of homosexuals as well as calling for better treatment of immigrants.
In June 2004, the SP fared well in the 2004 European elections, winning 33.5% of the Austrian votes cast
and receiving nine seats (out of a total of 18 Austrian seats) and becoming strongest Austrian party. This was
seen as a welcome sign for upcoming 2006 legislative election. Due to the banking scandal of the BAWAG,
which was close to the unions, confidence has been greatly shaken that the party will separate financial
dealings from politics.
In the 2006 National Elections the SP, to the surprise of many, became Austria's strongest party with 68
seats (67 plus the chairman of the Liberal Forum running on the SP
electoral list) to the VP's 66. In the long protracted coalition
negotiations that followed, a grand coalition was formed, with
Gusenbauer as Chancellor in a grand coalition with the VP which
was finally sworn in January 2007, three months after the elections.

Confronting the past of 19381945

Concerning the role of Austrian Socialists during Nazi rule from
19381945, the party started opening its archives and set in a
commission to investigate its past conduct. The fact that, having
been outlawed and imprisoned under Austrofascism, many Socialists
initially welcomed the Anschluss of Austria into Germany back then
could not be denied, as well as the fact that some became members
of the Nazi party. Alfred Gusenbauer issued a declaration promising
and supporting a full and open investigation ("Klarheit in der
Vergangenheit Basis fr die Zukunft"). In 2005 the report about the
SP poster for the 2006 general
so-called "brown spots" (braune Flecken) was completed and
elections; "The country needs a new
published. The report talks about SP members and leaders who
became members of the Nazi party during German rule after the
Anschluss. One example given in the report is the case of Dr.
Heinrich Gross, who received many honours from the SP and even the government in the post-war period.
This was despite the fact that he worked as a Nazi doctor in the euthanasia ward "Am Spiegelgrund" in
Vienna, where human experiments on children were performed. Those children with presumptive mental
defects were eventually killed, often by lethal injection. Dr. Gross was probably himself involved in the
experimentations and killings. The Austrian judicial system protected him for a very long time from any
kind of prosecution, something that was very typical in the post-war period. He enjoyed wide support from
the SP party and party leaders for a very long time.
Reflecting the change in attitude towards the past, Federal President Fischer in an interview with the liberal
newspaper Der Standard strongly criticised Austria's view on its historical role during Nazi rule. He called
the traditional view that Austria was the first victim of Nazi aggression as false. The Moscow Declaration of
1943 by migrs, which called for the independence of Austria from Nazi Germany, was a problem since it
stated that the war was neither started nor wanted by any Austrian ("Und das ist nicht richtig.") Also the fact
that Austrian Jewish victims were not mentioned in the declaration (".. kein Wort fr die jdischen Opfer")
as well as that it took decades for them to receive any kind of compensation and justice from the government
was very regrettable and inexcusable. His statements were direct criticism of the right-wing government of

the coalition VP/FP, which usually dragged its feet concerning compensation to victims, and the
admission of the (co-)guilt Austrians carried for crimes committed by them during the Second World War.
(Interview given on 10 April 2006, full text available online at

Election results by states

Burgenland is a state that is a traditional stronghold of the social democrats. Since 1964 the governors of this
eastern-most state have come from the SP. Burgenland is one of the few states that are ruled by a social
democratic majority in the state assembly ('Landtag). In the state assembly elections of 2000, the SP
received 46.6%, in 2005 it received 5.2% more votes and ended up with an absolute majority of 51.8%.
Governor (Landeshauptmann) of the Burgenland is Hans Niessl.

The Carinthian SP used to be very strong in this most southern Austrian state. It regularly won the most
seats in state elections and the governors used to be Social Democrats until 1989. Since the rise of Jrg
Haider and his FP, he successfully pushed the SP out of their leading position. In state elections in 1999
the SP received 32.9%, it was however able to raise its share in the 2004 elections to 38.4%. In a strange
twist, the SP were in a coalition with the right-wing FP in Carinthia, where Jrg Haider was governor,
until 2005. This constellation is in question after the chairperson of the Carinthian SP, Gabi Schauning,
decided to resign from her post as vice-governor of Carinthia after a fall-out with Haider. Carinthia has a
mandatory concentration government, where each party with a certain amount of seats in the state
parliament automatically participates in the state government. The term coalition therefore refers to the
cooperation between parties and not to the participation in the state cabinet.

Lower Austria
In Lower Austria, the SP received 29.2% in the 1998 state assembly elections. It increased its shares by
3.2% in the elections of 2003 and ended up with 32.4%. In the Lower Austrian state election, 2008, the SP
received 25.5% of the vote.

The SP won a surprising victory in the state elections in Salzburg in 2004. It was able to increase its share
of votes from 32.2% (1999) to 45.3%. For the first time the conservative VP lost their traditional dominant
position. Gabi Burgstaller became the first social democratic governess (Landeshauptfrau) in the state's
history. In the elections of March 2009 they lost 2 seats (from 17 to 15) with a 39.5% of the votes, going to
the FP (from 3 to 5) with a 13% of the votes. The VP had 14 seats with a 36.5% of the votes and the
Grne 2 seat with a 7.3% . The BZ had no seat with a 3.7% of the votes, showing a growing of the rightwing parties.

Styria was traditionally ruled by the VP. In the state assembly elections of 2000, the Styrian SP ended up
with 32.3%. In the elections of 2005, the voters shifted towards the left, something that also benefited the
local communist party, the KP. The SP won 9.4% more and ended up with 40.7%, defeating the VP,
which got only 38.7% of the votes. Franz Voves, Styrian SP chairman, became state governor.

In Tyrol the social democrats receive few votes since the state is a traditional conservative stronghold. In the
1999 elections, the Tyrolean SP received 22.8% of all votes, in the next elections of 2003 it increased its
share by 3.1% to 25.9%.

Upper Austria
In the 2003 state elections to the Upper Austrian Landtag, the SP was able to raise its voters share from
27% (1997) by 11.3% to 38.3%. It was in a grand coalition with the VP in the state government as the
junior partner, with four out of nine of the state government ministers coming from the SP.

Vienna was always traditionally the stronghold of the Social Democratic Party. In the city council
(Gemeinderat) elections of 1996, the SP lost many votes to the FP. It received around 39% of all votes,
the FP around 27.9% and the VP 15.2%. This changed in 2001, when the SP jumped to 46.9% and the
FP shrank to 20.1% and again in 2005 when the SP gained to 49% and the FP shrank further to 14.8%.
The 2005 results meant that the SP was able to hold the majority of seats in the Vienna city council and
rule by itself without coalition partners. The current governor-mayor of Vienna is Michael Hupl.

Vorarlberg is a traditional stronghold of the conservative Austrian People's Party. Of all the Austrian states,
the SP receives the least votes in this western-most state. In state assembly elections of 1999, the SP
received 12.9%, but was able to raise its share of votes in the elections of 2004 by 3.9% and ended up with

Party chairmen since 1945

The chart below shows a timeline of the social democratic chairpersons and the Chancellors of Austria. The
left bar shows all the chairpersons (Bundesparteivorsitzende, abbreviated as "CP") of the SP, and the right
bar shows the corresponding make-up of the Austrian government at that time. The red (SP) and black
(VP) 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

Select list of other SP politicians

Josef Cap, Head of the parliamentary club (Klubobmann)
Barbara Prammer, 1st female National Council President of Austria
Christoph Matznetter, Budget- and Financial matters spokesman in the National Council
Josef Broukal, journalist and MP
During the government of Kreisky, Johanna Dohnal became the first minister for women's affairs

Minority factions
Some groups within the SP like Der Funke (The Spark), are Marxist and proponents of a more radical
strain of democratic socialism. SJ Austria, the party's youth organisation, is generally perceived of as being
more radically left-wing than the SP itself.

See also
Socialist Students of Austria

1. Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by
Wolfram Nordsieck (
2. (German) PDF (458 KiB) Party platform, see articles I.(1) and
III.7.(1): "strive for a society that overcomes class antagonisms", "only the advancement of political to economic,
and therefore social, democracy establishes the precondition for the realization of our basic principles"
3. Dimitri Almeida (27 April 2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive
Consensus. CRC Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-136-34039-0. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
4. Winkler, Eduard. Wahlrechtsreformen und Wahlen in Triest 1905 1909: eine Analyse der politischen Partizipation
in einer multinationalen Stadtregion der Habsburgermonarchie (
). Sdosteuropische Arbeiten, 105. Mnchen: Oldenbourg, 2000. pp. 8485
5. A Concise History of Austria by Steven Beller
6. Thomas Keller (October 2012). Emil Franzel (1901 ? 1976): Biografie eines sudetendeutschen Intellektuellen.
Diplomica Verlag. p. 22. ISBN 978-3-8428-8726-8.
7. DIVIDE ON GERMAN AUSTRIA. Centrists Favor Union, but Strong Influences Oppose It. (http://query.nytimes.
com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F50B17F93A5F1B7A93C5A8178AD85F4D8185F9), The New York Times, 17
January 1919 (PDF)
8. Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 1940 (
oks?id=83QdPwAACAAJ). Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 312
9. Brook-Shepherd, G. The Austrians. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. London, 1995. ISBN 3-552-04876-6, page 366
10. Lehne, Inge; Lonnie Johnson (December 1985). Vienna- The Past in the Present. sterreichischer Bundersverlag
Gesellschaft. p. 134. ISBN 3-215-05758-1.
11. Brook-Shepherd, G., The Austrians, page 455
12. Brook-Shepherd, G., The Austrians, page 515

Gordon Brook-Shepherd. The Austrians. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. London, 1995. ISBN 3-55204876-6
Caspar Einem, Wolfgang Neugebauer, Andreas Schwarz. Der Wille zum aufrechten Gang. Czernin
Verlag, Vienna, 2005. ISBN 3-7076-0196-X (Discussion on book is available online on (h
Maria Mesner (Ed.). Entnazifizierung zwischen politischem Anspruch, Parteienkonkurrenz und Kaltem
Krieg: Das Beispiel der SP. Oldenbourg Verlag, Vienna, 2005. ISBN 3-486-57815-4
Bruno Kreisky, Matthew Paul Berg (Translator), Jill Lewis (Ed.).The Struggle for a Democratic
Austria: Bruno Kreisky on Peace and Social Justice. Berghahn Books, New York, 2000. ISBN 157181-155-9
Barbara Kaindl-Widhalm. Demokraten wider Willen? Autoritre Tendenzen und Antisemitismus in der
2. Republik. Verlag fr Gesellschaftskritik, Vienna, 1990.
Norbert Leser: Zwischen Reformismus und Bolschewismus. Der Austromarxismus in Theorie und
Praxis, 1968.
Wolfgang Neugebauer. Widerstand und Opposition, in: NS-Herrschaft in sterreich. bv und hpt,
Vienna, 2000. ISBN 3-209-03179-7
Peter Pelinka. Eine kurze Geschichte der SP. Ereignisse, Persnlichkeiten, Jahreszahlen.
Ueberreuter, Vienna, 2005. ISBN 3-8000-7113-4

External links
Media related to Social Democratic Party of Austria at Wikimedia Commons
(German) Official Website (
(English) The Social Democratic Party of Austria (

(English) AEIOU | Austrian Social Democratic Party (
(German) Encyclopedia of the Viennese SP (
(German) Linzer Programm (3 November 1926) (
(German) Otto Bauer Austromarxism (
Retrieved from "
Categories: Social Democratic Party of Austria Political parties established in 1888
1888 establishments in Austria-Hungary Social democratic parties Political parties in Austria
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