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National Council election 1959

The National Council election of 10 May 1959 was the first at which Friedrich Peter stood as the FPÖ’s lead candidate. He was able to achieve 7.7 per cent for the Freedom Party, an increase of 1.18 percentage points. Translated into seats, that gave the party 8 parliamentary seats, an increase of two.

The SPÖ under Bruno Pittermann’s leadership became the party with the largest share of the vote, yet because of electoral arithmetic, the ÖVP of Federal Chancellor Julius Raab was able to win one more seat than the SPÖ. The KPÖ was eliminated from the National Council.

Brief description of the election campaign

Friedrich Peter had in 1958 been elected Federal Party Chairman of the FPÖ and in 1959, stood for the first time as the Freedom Party’s lead election candidate. His party chairmanship was to last almost two decades and to leave the party with the enduring character of a “party of notables”, which means that although the FPÖ remained until the Haider era merely a small National Council party with correspondingly few Members of Parliament, during a time when ÖVP and SPÖ were excessively powerful, it nonetheless made contributions of the highest quality to the shaping of Austrian parliamentarism.

As in many subsequent election campaigns, the Freedom Party focussed on precisely this role: confronting excessive black-red dominance with control.

Election result

The following parties and electoral lists stood for election at the National Council election of 1959:

Sozialistische Partei Österreichs (SPÖ)
Österreichische Volkspartei (ÖVP)
Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ)
Kommunisten und Linkssozialisten (KuL)
Bund demokratischer Sozialisten (BDS)

Parties

Votes

Vote share 1959

±

Seats 1959

±

SPÖ

1,953,935

44.8%

+1.8%

78

+4

ÖVP

1,953,935

44.2%

-1.8%

79

-3

FPÖ

336,110

7.7%

-1.2%

8

+2

Government formation

The Grand Coalition of ÖVP and SPÖ was continued and because of its increased share of the vote, the SPÖ received an additional ministry. The KPÖ failed to re-enter the National Council.

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