The FPÖ in the National Council Presidium
In addition to 30 Members of the National Council and 11 Federal Councillors, the FPÖ holds the position of the Third President of the National Council, currently occupied by Norbert Hofer (pictured). As a member of the National Council, he is simultaneously a member of the FPÖ Parliamentary Party. With the exception of a short interregnum from 2006 to 2008, the National Council has consistently elected one of the three National Council Presidents from within the ranks of the FPÖ.
At the beginning of a legislative period, the National Council – which shares with the Federal Council responsibility for the legislation of the Federation – elects from its midst the First President, the Second President and the Third President. Together, they form the Presidium of the National Council. The President leads the business of the National Council, represents the National Council externally, convenes its meetings and presides over the meetings of the National Council, alternately with the other two Presidents. Political practice in the Second Republic has so far been that the three parties with the strongest representation in the National Council make proposals for appointments to the Presidency. When electing its Presidents, the plenum mostly follows those recommendations.
Formally, National Council Presidents occupy the Republic’s second most senior office
The first time the FPÖ succeeded in occupying the office of the Third President of the National Council was in 1983, when Gerulf Stix assumed that position. He was succeeded as FPÖ member of the National Council Presidium by Siegfried Dillersberger, Heide Schmidt, Herbert Haupt, Wilhelm Brauneder, Thomas Prinzhorn, Martin Graf, Anneliese Kitzmüller and Norbert Hofer. From 1999 until 2002, the FPÖ – for the first and only time – also held the office of Second President of the National Council. Collectively, the three Presidents of the National Council are empowered to stand in for the Federal President both in the event of the Head of State being prevented from exercising their office for an extended period, as well as in the event of their death, or removal. National Council Presidents thus formally enjoy the second highest position in the Republic of Austria.