The party was formed in 1986 with the name Grüne Alternative, following the merger of the more conservative Green party Vereinte Grüne Österreichs (United Greens of Austria VGÖ, founded 1982) and the more progressive party Alternative Liste Österreichs (Alternative List Austria ALÖ, founded 1982). Since 1993, the party has carried the official name Die Grünen – Die Grüne Alternative (Grüne), but refers to itself in English as "Austrian Greens". There are still differences between the former members of the old Alternative and VGÖ factions within the party, which is reflected in the different opinions between the national party and the state parties.
Apart from ecological issues such as environmental protection, the Greens also campaign for the rights of minorities and advocate a socio-ecological (ökosozial) tax reform. Their basic values according to their charter in 2001 are: "direct democracy, non-violence, ecology, solidarity, feminism and self-determination" The majority of the issues that the Greens champion cater to an especially young, urban, and higher-educated class of voters.
The party is a member of the European Green Party.
When the Greens took their seats in parliament for the first time, they chose to appear somewhat unconventional. They initially refused to adapt their behaviour to that of the other parties; an example of this is their refusal to elect a chairperson (Klubobmann / Klubobfrau) and designated a puppet made out of straw instead. Delegates would appear in parliament dressed in casual wear like jeans and sneakers. World-wide attention was drawn when the Green delegate Andreas Wabl hoisted a swastika flag on the speakers podium in the Austrian parliament, protesting against then Federal President Kurt Waldheim.
After the national election in 2002, the Greens entered into preliminary negotiations about a possible coalition government with the conservative ÖVP. During negotiations, party leadership was accused of internally black-mailing skeptical members. Negotiations between the two parites were subsequently called off, after the results with the ÖVP were not sufficient. The Green youth organisation Grünalternative Jugend (Green Alternative Youth or GAJ) briefly occupied the rooms of the Green parliamentary club in the Austrian parliament building in protest.
After the 2006 elections the Greens gained 4 seats and ended up with 21 seats and became the 3rd largest party in Parliament however did not have enough mandates to form a coalition government with either the ÖVP or SPÖ and became the largest opposition party while the SPÖ and ÖVP formed a coalition government.
DateFormat = yyyy
Period = from:1986 till:2008
TimeAxis = orientation:vertical
ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:2 start:1986
Define $dx = 25 # shift text to right side of bar
Define $dy = -4 # adjust height PlotData=
id:Grüne value:green legend:Grüne
id:SPÖ value:red legend:SPÖ
id:ÖVP value:gray(0.25) legend:ÖVP
width:25 mark:(line,white) align:left fontsize:S shift:($dx,$dy)
from:1986 till:1988 text:Freda Meissner-Blau
from:1988 till:1992 text:Johannes Voggenhuber
from:1992 till:1994 text:Peter Pilz
from:1994 till:1995 text:Madeleine Petrovic
from:1995 till:1997 text:Christoph Chorherr
from:1997 till:2008 text:Alexander Van der Bellen
from:2008 till:end text:Eva Glawischnig
from:1986 till:1987 text:Vranitzky I
from:1987 till:1990 text:Vranitzky II
from:1990 till:1994 text:Vranitzky III
from:1994 till:1996 text:Vranitzky IV
from:1996 till:1997 text:Vranitzky V
from:1997 till:2000 text:Klima
from:2007 till:end text:Gusenbauer I
from:2000 till:2003 text:Schüssel I
from:2003 till:2007 text:Schüssel II
DateFormat = yyyy Period = from:1986 till:2008 TimeAxis = orientation:vertical ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:2 start:1986
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|2006||11.0% (+1.5)||21 (+4)|
|2002||9.5% (+2.1)||17 (+3)|
|1999||7.4% (+2.6)||14 (+5)|
|1995||4.8% (-2.5)||9 (-4)|
|1994||7.3% (+2.5)||13 (+3)|
|1990||4.8% (0)||10 (+2)|
|1986||4.8% (+1.4)||8 (+8)|
|1983||3.4% (+3.4)||0 (0)|
Styria has the largest Austrian Green youth organization in Austria, called Grüne Jugend Steiermark (Green Youth Styria). Beside the Green Youth Styria there also exists Austria's first Green student's organization, the ECO Students.Die Grünen – die Grüne Alternative Tirol) were able to win seats and placed in 1994 Eva Lichtenberger as Austria's first Green state councillor in a local government, responsible for environmental affairs.
The 2003 Tyrolean Landtag (state assembly) elections were the best ever for the Austrian Greens, winning 15.59% of all votes cast. In the capital city of Innsbruck the Greens reached approximately 27% of the vote. The Tyrolean election result also meant that the Greens could for the first time in history nominate a member to the Upper House of Parliament. Since 2003 the Green delegate to the Federal Council (Bundesrat) of Parliament is Eva Konrad, former chairlady of the Austrian National Union of Students (Österreichische HochschülerInnenschaft ) of the University of Innsbruck.
The communal elections of 2004 brought a doubling of the mandates for the Tyrolean Greens. City elections in Innsbruck in 2006 were a success for the Greens and they now have 8 of the 40 seats in the parliament of Innsbruck.
In the elections to the European parliament the Tyrolean Greens obtained 17.32%, their best result until then. Eva Lichtenberger subsequently changed her position to become a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). The results in Innsbruck were particularly good: there the Green party received 28.28%, which made it the strongest party, even before the Christian-democratic ÖVP and the social-democratic SPÖ. The Greens were able to score on a number of issues that they have been fighting for years. Besides the social topics above all the problems of transit traffic over the Alps was important.
The Tyrolean Greens have experts on traffic issues with MEP Eva Lichtenberger, the national speaker and club chairman (Klubobmann) Georg Willi and the speaker of group of regional of Innsbruck Gerhard Fritz. The issue of transit traffic through the Tyrol is of great importance, because the state is troubled by the massive transit traffic between Germany and Italy over the Brenner Pass. Since the Tyrol sits right in between Germany and Italy, the bulk of the commercial traffic passes through there. This heavy-duty traffic has devastating effects on the fragile alpine environment and decreases the quality of life for the inhabitants. Since the entry to the European Union, Austria had to give up any quota limitations on how much international traffic coming from EU-countries is allowed to pass through its territory.
The Tyrolean Greens accused to federal government of not having pushed for a better deal with the European Union concerning transit-traffic and in effect abandoning the concerns of the citizens. They also heavily criticised the government's failure to negotiate a follow-up of the 1994 transit-treaty signed with the EU. Apart from the Greens, various anti-transit civic movements have formed to protest against the environmental damages caused by the traffic.
Sitting in the National Council is Kurt Grünewald, a Tyrolean member of parliament, as well as the former leader of the Greens Alexander Van der Bellen, who has Tyrolean roots (he spent a part of his youth there and went to high school in Innsbruck).
The results of the Tyrolean Landtag elections:
|2003||15.59% (+7.57)||5 (+2)|
|1999||8.02% (-2.66)||3 (-1)|
|1994||10.68% (+2.42)||4 (+1)|
|1989||8.26% (+5.34)||3 (+3)|
The results of the Vorarlberg Landtag elections:
|2004||10,2% (+4.17)||4 (+2)|
|1999||6,03% (-1.73)||2 (-1)|
|1994||7,76% (+2.58)||3 (+1)|
|1989||5,18% (-7.82)||2 (-2)|
The Viennese Greens started candidating in the Vienna Gemeinderat (municipal council or state assembly) in 1983 and were able to enter in 1991. Over the years they have been able to continually gather support. A lot of support has been coming from former Liberal Forum voters, after the liberals failed to enter any legislature. The traditional strongholds in Vienna for the Greens are the districts of Neubau (2005: 43.26%), Josefstadt (32.26%), Alsergrund (29.43%), Mariahilf (28.97%) and Wieden (25.14%).
In the 2001 Gemeinderat elections, the Greens were able to win the majority of a district for the first time. In the district of Neubau they won 32.55% and were able to nominate the Bezirksvorsteher (mayor of the district). The results of 2001 also allowed the Viennese Greens to nominate Stefan Schennach as federal councilor to the Upper House of Parliament (Bundesrat). But despite the strong gains, the Greens were not able to enter into a coalition government with the SPÖ, since the social-democrats were able to win an absolute majority.
The European Parliament election, 2004 were the best for the Viennese Greens so far. From the total tally, they received 22%, which put them ahead of the christian-democratic ÖVP and placed them on second position behind the SPÖ (37.7%). In Neubau the Greens received 41%. They were also able to win first place in the districts of Wieden, Mariahilf, Josefstadt and Alsergrund.
In the 2005 Gemeinderat elections, the Greens were able to win votes, but missed their target of becoming the second most powerful party and ended up on fourth place, right behind the right-wing FPÖ. Because of the different weighing by districts, the Greens received 14 mandates, one more than the FPÖ. They were also able to place another city-councillor. In the districts, the party was able to consolidate their holding on Neubau, as well as win the majority of votes in Josefstadt. With that, the Greens were able to nominate a second Green district-mayor. The second place was won in the districts of Leopoldstadt, Margareten, Mariahilf, Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus and Alsergrund.
The Green delegates to the Viennese Gemeinderat or Landtag as of 2006 were: Maria Vassilakou (club-chairlady [Klubobfrau]), Waltraut Antonov, Heidi Cammerlander, Christoph Chorherr, Sabine Gretner, Susanne Jerusalem, Alev Korun, Rüdiger Maresch, Martin Margulies, Sigrid Pilz, Ingrid Puller, Marie Ringler, Marco Schreuder, Claudia Sommer-Smolik. The two city-councillors are David Ellensohn and Monika Vana.
The results of the Viennese Gemeinderat elections:
|2005||14,63% (+2.18)||14 (+3)||1 Federal Councillor, 2 City Councillors|
|2001||12,45% (+4.51)||11 (+4)||1 Federal Councillor, 1 City Councillor|
|1996||7,94% (-1.14)||7 (±0)||1 City Councillor|
|1991||9,08% (+4.68)||7 (+7)||1 City Councillor|
The highest body is the Bundeskongress (Federal Congress), which convenes at least once a year. All state organisations send delegates, also the immigrants-organisation is allowed to send delegates as "the tenth Austrian state". The Federal Congress decides the electoral lists for the National Council elections or elections to the European parliament. The congress also elects the federal spokesperson (BundesprecherIn). The congress also decides the party program and sets the party guidelines.
The Bundesvorstand (Federal Board of Trustees) has in the last few years developed itself into the actual decision-making centre. It meets at least once a week, mostly on Tuesdays, and determines the guidelines of the daily politics. The board also has decides over the party finances. The extended federal board of trustees (Erweiterter Bundesvorstand) consists of a smaller number of delegates from each state and meets at least once a month. It takes care of the implementation of the party-guidelines, which were set by the party congress. It also chooses the representatives of the party spokesperson.
The state organisations (Landesorganisationen) are for their most part organised similarly: There are state meetings, which sometimes convene as a members meeting or a delegates meeting. Similar to the Federal Board of Trustees, there are the State Board of Trustees (Landesvorstände). The party charter also allows for each state group to hold a vote on basic issues as well that affect the whole party.
Independently in the National Council there also exists a Green National Council Club (faction), which can independently specify its guidelines. In the last years however an increasing fusion of the work between party and its club was noticeable. Michaela Sburny, successor of Franz Raft since June 2004 as federal executive manager of the Greens, was allowed to keep her National Council mandate. This means she is allowed to hold two offices at the same time, something that was frowned upon by the Greens previously.
There are different Green or Greenish organisations within the party and associated with it. These include:
The education and training of new Green politicians is done by the Grüne Bildungswerkstatt (http://www.gbw.at/), which is an independent voluntary association. The Grüne Bildungswerkstatt is financed by the republic, as regulated by Austrian law for the equal treatment of all parliamentary parties.
Among the most notable founding members and mentors are or were Professor Alexander Tollmann, the painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the late actor Herbert Fux, the mayor of Steyregg Josef Buchner (the first Green mayor in Austria – in 1987 excluded from the Green parliamentary club), Freda Meissner-Blau and Günther Nenning, with Nobel prize laureate Konrad Lorenz supporting the 1984 protests at Hainburg.
Today, Green politicians include (in alphabetical order)