The history of Austria is marked by the development of the right to vote. From the revolution in 1848 to the present day, the right to vote has changed and evolved again and again. In the course of time, the foundations for a democratic society were laid and the political participation of citizens was strengthened.
An important role was played by the conflict between the different political forces. Over the past 170 years, there have been numerous reforms and amendments that have repeatedly improved and reformed Austrian electoral law. Starting with the general and equal suffrage reform to extensions of the right to vote for women and Austrians living abroad.
Today, universal suffrage applies in Austria to all citizens 16 years of age and older. But what events and developments in the past led to this modern democracy?? What did the electoral law look like in the past and which political movements were decisive for the democratic development of Austria? This article takes a look at the development of voting rights in Austria from 1848 to the present day.
The beginnings of suffrage
The history of suffrage in Austria goes back to 1848. In this year, the country’s first constitution was adopted, which called for universal suffrage. Until then, only nobles, clergy, and citizens who had a certain amount of property were allowed to vote. Universal suffrage meant that every male citizen who had reached the age of 24. The age at which a person reached the age of majority was entitled to vote. However, there were also restrictions: For example, women, civil servants and workers were initially not allowed to vote.