100 years of electoral dynamics in Austria

CC by SORA/datenwerk

In 2019, Austria celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first national elections in the Republic of Austria. On this occasion, the SORA Institute and the Haus der Geschichte Österreich (House of History Austria) are making electoral behaviour of the First and Second Republic visible.

26 National elections in the last 100 years

On February 16 1919, a parliament was elected for the first time in the Republic of Austria. For the first time not only men, but women as well were allowed to vote equally, freely and secretly. Since then, a National Council has been elected for 26 times - only four times in the first republic.

While we are able to offer detailed analyses for current elections that show where the voters of which party came from quickly after an election, such voter transition analyses are largely missing for historical elections.

First analyses of voter transitions for all elections

Where, for example, did the voters of the communists and left-wing socialists, who in 1956 had still won three seats in the National Council, change to and where did the votes of the FPÖ, who first took office in 1956 and immediately achieved six seats, come from? From which party did the voters change who gave the ÖVP an absolute majority in 1966 and the SPÖ in 1971?  Who had been previously elected by those who brought the Greens into parliament in 1986 and the Liberal Forum in 1994? In 2013, there was the lowest turnout in Austrian history, so which voters decided to stay away from the elections?

An interactive, digital journey into the history of electoral dynamics

In a comprehensive research project funded by the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, the SORA Institute has reconstructed these missing data. In doing so, the tool provides completely new insights into the democratic history of the First and Second Republic.

In an interactive digital module, however, not only the voting behaviour and the underlying voter transitions become evident, but also other basic data on the election, such as information on all parties and their leading candidates. The ORF and the parliament have actively supported the project with image and video material from their extensive archives.

This unique interactive overview of all National Council elections will be presented from June 25 2019 in the exhibition "Aufbruch ins Ungewisse - Österreich seit 1918" (Departure into the Uncertain - Austria since 1918) at the Haus der Geschichte.