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Above-average number of legislative decisions in the past parliamentary year

Above-average number of legislative decisions in the past parliamentary year
Above-average number of legislative decisions in the past parliamentary year

National Council

Over the past 25 years, the body has only initiated more innovations in 2020/21, with 231 legislative resolutions, according to the meeting report. Members of Parliament who are always present spent 260 hours and 28 minutes in the House of Representatives at 46 meetings – and for the first time since the renovation, they spent all of their time in the historic building on the Ring.

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There were slightly more meetings in the previous session year 2022/23 than in 2023/24, with 57 – although seven special sessions were also held then. In the past parliamentary year there was only one, which dealt with the issue of neutrality at the request of the FPÖ against the background of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. There were also 154 committee meetings and 22 subcommittee meetings. A total of 31 meetings were held by the investigative committees on COFAG and the “red-blue abuse of power”.

58 laws passed last week

58 of the 214 legislative decisions were made in the last days of the session before the summer break last week alone. A record is also emerging for the entire legislative period – since the 1970s, no more than 900 legislative decisions have been made within a legislative period, according to the parliamentary correspondence. In this legislative period, there are now 929 – one reason could be the corona pandemic, as numerous special provisions were passed during this time and in some cases extended several times.

Looking at the past parliamentary year, 29 percent, or just under a third, of the legislative decisions were made unanimously. The government was able to implement 20 draft laws with the necessary two-thirds majority, including the Freedom of Information Act. However, just last week, for example, the Biogas Act failed due to the lack of approval from the FPÖ or SPÖ. In addition to legislative decisions, 17 state treaties and 12 agreements with the federal states were approved in 2023/24, and 74 reports from the government, the Court of Auditors and the Ombudsman were negotiated.

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342 debates took place in the plenary session – often across several agenda items. There were nine “current affairs hours” and three “current European affairs hours”, with each party putting a topic up for discussion. In addition, government members answered questions during seven question and answer sessions. At the request of the opposition, six “urgent motions” and three “urgent inquiries” were discussed. There were also nine “short debates” on written responses to questions from individual government members and requests to set deadlines, as well as another one in the run-up to the COFAG-U committee. The Presidents of the National Council issued 39 calls to order – these are used, for example, in the case of offensive statements.

Two motions of no confidence

According to parliamentary correspondence, the number of motions of no confidence remained low at two, despite some massive criticism of the government – the SPÖ demanded the resignation of the entire federal government in the autumn because, in their opinion, it had done too little to combat inflation. Last week, the FPÖ expressed its lack of confidence in Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) because she had agreed to the EU renaturation regulation. Both motions were unsuccessful.

The number of written inquiries fell to 3,189 (2022/23: 3,650) – the vast majority (3,168) to the government. The FPÖ was responsible for the majority (1,632), followed by the SPÖ (853), the NEOS (659), the Greens (27) and the ÖVP (18). With 485, the most inquiries went to Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP).

While the legislative period lasts until September, the 2023/24 session officially ends on Tuesday. The National Council will not meet again as scheduled until after the summer break, on September 18. After the National Council election on September 29, there will be numerous new faces in parliament – in any case, the current President of the National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP), will not be present, as he is no longer running for office.

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