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Austrian presidential elections: Who are the seven candidates?

Austrians will have a large selection of candidates to be the next leader at the Hofburg presidential palace, with a record number of seven men running to be Austria's next head of state. But who are they?

Austrian presidential elections: Who are the seven candidates?
Austria's Hofburg, the residence and work place of the president. (Photo by Jörg Bauer on Unsplash)

Austria’s presidential election will take place on October 9th with seven candidates vying to take over at the Hofburg – the official workplace of the country’s president.

That reflects the highest number of candidates ever to stand for the election.

All of them are men, all are white and all Austrians of course. The youngest is 35 years old, and the oldest is 78.

Besides the current president, Alexander Van der Bellen, six other men are also vying for the job: Walter Rosenkranz, supported by the right-wing party FPÖ, Dominik Wlazny, from the left-leaning Bierpartei, Michael Brunner, supported by the “neutral” MFG, Gerald Grosz, formerly FPÖ/BZÖ, and Tassilo Wallentin and Heinrich Staudinger, both not affiliated to any parties.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How does Austria’s presidential election work?

Who are the candidates?

Alexander Van der Bellen, 78 years old, is the current president of Austria and is running for reelection. He was a spokesman for the Austrian Green Party but paused his affiliation while acting as president.

Born in Vienna to an Austrian father and an Estonian mother, he spent most of his childhood studying economics in Tyrol.

Walter Rosenkranz, 60 years old, is affiliated with the right-wing FPÖ party and was a member of the National Council until 2019. He was that year sworn in as Volksanwalt (public prosecutor).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who are MFG – Austria’s vaccine-sceptic party?

Dominik Wlazny, 35 years old, is known by his artistic name Marco Pogo. Wlazny is an Austrian musician (and doctor) and founder and chairman of left-leaning Die Bierpartei (Austria’s Beer Party).

Michael Brunner, 61 years old, is affiliated with the “neutral” MFG party, made famous for its anti-vaccine stances during the pandemic. He holds a doctorate in law from the University of Vienna.

Gerald Grosz, 45 years old, is a political columnist and a former politician for the FPÖ and the BZÖ.

Tassilo Wallentin, 48 years old, is running independently. He is a lawyer who studied at the University of Salzburg and the United States.

Heinrich Staudinger, 69 years old, is an Austrian businessman running independently for his first elections.

What does the Austrian President do?

The Federal President is the head of state of the Austrian Republic. Their role is to represent the Austrian state and its democracy. They should provide moral support to the country and assist in integrating minorities into the political process. The president also sign bills into laws and swears in new ministers and chancellors.

In many ways, Austria’s president is compared to the role of the monarch in the UK and their political power is often viewed as symbolic.

For example, the president is not expected to intervene in the daily running of government but can make an appeal in certain situations.

A presidential mandate lasts for six years and they can only run for reelection once.

Can I vote in these elections?

Probably not. Some 18 percent of residents (or 1.4 million people) in Austria over the age of 16 do not have the right to vote because they are not citizens. The highest concentration of people who are not entitled to vote is in Vienna, Innsbruck and Salzburg.

In comparison, 20 years ago, Austria had just 580,000 people without the right to vote.

Only Austrian citizens aged 16 are allowed to vote in the presidential elections.

READ ALSO: Austrian presidential elections: Why 1.4 million people can’t vote

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How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

Politicians in Austria are getting a 5.3 percent salary increase in 2023 as inflation rises in the country. So how much will they earn?

How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

The rising inflation rate, which is expected to be at 10.6 percent in November, is reflected in the salaries of politicians in Austria, according to the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitung.

According to Austrian law, all salaries are calculated based on the income of the members of the National Council, the Austrian Parliament. Next year, they will receive €9,873 gross per month – €497 more than their salaries in 2022. The values were rounded to the whole euro amount. 

READ ALSO: How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

So, how much are the leading politicians going to earn as a monthly gross salary in 2023?

  • Bundespräsident: the head of the Austrian State (Federal President) will earn €26,701 per month. Alexander Van der Bellen was reelected to the position and should stay in the job for six more years
  • Bundeskanzler: the head of the Austrian government (Chancellor) will earn €23,840 per month. That’s the salary of Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), who is expected to run for reelection in the next national elections set for 2024
  • Vizekanzler: the current vice-chancellor is Werner Kögler (Greens), and he is set to earn €20,979 from 2023
  • NR-Präsident: this refers to the leader of the National Council (Nationalrat, in German), who earns €20,026. Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP) holds the position
  • Landeshauptleute: this German word literally means “main persons of the province”. (Land means country, but it actually refers to the bundesländer, the country’s states or provinces). These are the current governors of the Austrian provinces, such as Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), mayor of the city-state of Vienna. They’ll earn €19,072 per month
  • Ministerin/Minister: Ministers of the federal government, including Health and Social Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), will earn €19,072 every month
  • Landesrätin/-rat: the provincial councillors should earn €17,771 every month from 2023
  • Staatssekretärin/-sekretär: State secretaries, who play the part of Ministers in the provincial level, will earn €17,165
  • Bundesratsmitglieder: a “member of the Bundesrat”, which is the upper house in the Austrian parliament, will earn €4,936 per month

READ ALSO: Explained: How to understand your payslip in Austria

In Austria, hired employees are paid 14 times per year, with extra salaries ahead of summer holidays and Christmas.

Unless the National Council decides against the pay rise, the increase will come into effect on January 1st 2023.