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Constitutional Positions of Heads of State in the EU

Comparative Politics
Constitutions
Democracy
European Union
Executives
Institutions
Parliaments
Political Leadership
Melanie Sully
Institute for Go-Governance
Melanie Sully
Institute for Go-Governance

Abstract

This paper examines the different constitutional positions of heads of state in the EU countries focussing on the specifics of the Austrian Federal President, a special hybrid model in this context. The powers given to the head of state in Austria are nominally according to the federal constitution considerable but a closer look at the "Realverfassung" but also practice show that as one expert has said, "the President is a sleeping giant who if he woke up would find he is in chains". This will be illustrated by concrete examples (government formation, Senior appointments and signing off laws) and the paper will be rounded off by a discussion of the Federal President election, campaign and results in April&May 2016