What is choice
Democratic elections have to meet several points: They have to free, secret, equal, generally and right away be. Free means that no one may be forced to vote for one party or the other. Secret means that the decision is made in secret - nobody is allowed to control the voting decision. Equal means that all votes count equally. General means that all eligible voters can vote (right to vote), and immediate means that the voting decision is converted directly into mandates.
The basic principle of an election is that those entitled to vote vote for parties, which in turn send members to various parliaments. But there are also elections in which people are directly elected for an office (e.g. direct mayor election or federal presidential election).
Elections take place in Austria at the municipal, state and federal level, and the Austrian members of the EU Parliament are also elected.
The legislative period (the legislative period, i.e. the period after which a new election must be made) is five years at the federal level (National Council election), five years (or six in Upper Austria) and at the municipal level either five or six years. The Austrian members of the EU Parliament are elected every five years (at the same time in all EU countries).
The federal presidential elections take place every six years. However, if a Federal President dies, elections take place immediately afterwards.
Elections are also held regularly in chambers (Federal Chamber for Workers and Salaried Employees, Chamber of Agriculture, Chamber of Commerce, Chambers of the Liberal Professions).
In the federal presidential election, the majority vote applies, i.e. the candidate who receives more than 50% of the votes (absolute majority) wins. If nobody reaches this percentage, there will be a runoff two weeks after the first ballot between the two strongest votes in the first ballot. This majority vote is also used for direct mayor elections. This is the case in six federal states (Burgenland, Carinthia, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg).
All other elections take place according to proportional representation, i.e. political parties are elected that receive a corresponding number of seats depending on the number of votes won.
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