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The Schüssel Era in Austria

Günter Bischof
Fritz Plasser

I. Personality and Leadership

Making Omelets and Breaking Eggs? Schüssel’s Leadership in Government and Party

David Wineroither

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Introduction: Governmental Influence and Prime Ministerial Power

Both the range of governmental influence and the level of prime ministerial power in Austria have been described as low. The government’s ability to govern is limited by a remarkable number of veto players in the political system.1 Furthermore, a recent survey revealed that the chancellor was considered a rather weak political leader, ranking nineteenth out of twenty-two countries that were compared.2 In fact, such “results” reflect some long-standing patterns in Austria, which is a country governed by many grand coalitions with a consociational political culture and strong networks of neo-corporatism (Sozialpartnerschaft). However, the creation of the coalition government between the Austrian People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei, or ÖVP) and Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, or FPÖ) in February 2000 meant the end of this system. Austria saw a sharp turn towards a majoritarian democracy....

© innsbruck university press, 2010

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