The FPÖ in the Ombudsman Board
The Ombudsman Board was established in 1977 as an auxiliary body of the Parliament to scrutinise the administration. According to the Austrian Federal Constitution, it is the right of the three parties with the largest number of National Council seats to nominate a member of the Ombudsman Board. The results of the latest National Council election, of 2019, mean that the FPÖ is also entitled to do so. July 2019 saw the commencement of the Ombudsman Board’s eighth term of office since 1977. The seat of the Ombudsman Board is in Vienna.
Plans for an "ombudsman" whom citizens could contact regarding their dealings with state authorities already existed shortly after the Second Republic was founded. But it was not until 1977 that all members of the Austrian National Council approved the federal law on the Ombudsman Board. The first three Ombudsmen were Robert Weisz, Franz Bauer and Gustav Zeillinger. Zeillinger was nominated by the FPÖ, which was then, as it is now, the third-strongest party in the National Council. The first three Ombudsmen took up their work on 1 July 1977.
An Ombudsman is independent and irremovable
The Ombudsmen are elected by the National Council for a term of office of six years, whereby a single re-election is possible. They are sworn in by the Federal President. The Ombudsmen are independent and irremovable. In principle, the Ombudsman Board has the obligation to examine any alleged or suspected maladministration and to communicate the result of that examination, as well as any measures that might have been taken. There is no charge for lodging a complaint with the Ombudsman Board. The Ombudsman Board can also launch an action under its own auspices, however.
Since 1 July 2019, the FPÖ has once again provided one of the three Ombudsmen, namely, Walter Rosenkranz. At federal level, he is responsible, among other things, for police and asylum law, as well as for schools and universities. At the provincial level, Walter Rosenkranz examines traffic matters, for example. The FPÖ has since 1977 nominated a total of seven ombudsmen. In addition to Gustav Zeillinger and Walter Rosenkranz, these were, in chronological order, Helmuth Josseck, Horst Schender, Ewald Stadler, Hilmar Kabas and Peter Fichtenbauer. (See the list of Ombudsmen).