The FPÖ in the provincial parliaments
Each of the nine independent provinces (Länder) of the Austrian federal state has a provincial parliament (Landtag). In every province, FPÖ members of the provincial parliament are organised into parliamentary parties, each of which is headed by a parliamentary group chairman, or chairwoman.
Austria is a federal state, in which legislation and enforcement are divided between the Federation and the provinces. The role of the provincial parliaments is thus to pass laws and to scrutinise and control the provincial governments. Unlike the Austrian Parliament, which is made up of the National Council and Federal Council, provincial parliaments comprise just a single chamber. Moreover, provincial parliaments are responsible for both provincial and municipal legislation. Provincial parliaments are headed by provincial parliamentary presidents, who are elected by the members of the respective provincial parliament. In three provinces – namely, in Carinthia, Upper Austria and Styria – the FPÖ currently holds the office of the Second, or of the Third Provincial Parliamentary President.
Provincial parliaments are decisive for the Federal Council
Members of the provincial parliaments are elected in their respective province according to the principle of equal, direct, secret and personal suffrage. For them, as for members of the National Council, for example, the principle of the free mandate applies. Accordingly, when undertaking their duties, they are not bound by any instruction of their parliamentary party.
The provincial parliaments of the nine Austrian provinces elect the provincial governments and appoint their representatives in the Federal Council of the Vienna-based Austrian Parliament. Accordingly, after each provincial election, Federal Council seats are reallocated in accordance with the results of those elections. Through the Federal Council, the provinces thus also participate in the legislative process of the Federation.