Our 2016 annual Christmas Celebration will be held on
Sunday, November 27th

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

at
BARNSTEINER'S
1 Balmoral Avenue
Toronto

Located on the corner of Balmoral and Yonge Street, just south of St. Clair

X Mas 2016 Musicians Sold Out

The talented Quintessence Ensemble and Soprano Lilac Caña will bring us into the Christmas spirit with their music and songs.
The Cacciacarro sisters, no strangers to our members, combine the beautiful, serene music of two violins with a cello, the king of stringed instruments.
Lilac Caña is an award-winning vocalist, producer,and recording artist with seven CD albums, who inspires people worldwide with her music. An honours graduate of the University of Toronto Opera Performance Program, and a scholarship recipient with the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.

We will start with a 'Meet & Mingle' before we sit down to a delicious meal, which consists of a Crepe (Fridatten) Soup or Salad, a choice of Wiener Schnitzel (veal) or a Pork Roast, Strudel or  Lemon Tart. The cost of the meal, including tax and gratuity and the musical entertainment is only $80 per person.


As in years past we will also ask you to support SOS Children’s Villages through our fund-raising effort, to help this wonderful organization cope with the enormous task of providing for the many children in their care.


This event is now Sold Out!

or go to the Upcoming Events column on the right side of your screen 
or leave us a message at 416-477-1123 or phone 416-846-4898

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Van der Bellan and Norbert Hofer

Presidential Election Update

The April 24, 2016 election for President of Austria resulted in a massive shift of voter preference away from the tradional big political parties - SPÖ and ÖVP. Of the six candidates who stood for election, none of the top three are affiliated or endorsed by one of the governing coalition parties.

Norbert Hofer, a member of the Freedom Party (FPÖ) emerged as a decisive winner with 35.1% of votes. Second was Alexander Van der Bellen, former head of the Green Party, with 21.3% of votes.  As no candidate achieved the required absolute majority, Austrians were asked to choose a president among the top contenders in a second round, which took place on May 22. Though Van der Bellen emerged as a narrow winner of the run-off election, on 1 July, the results of the second round of voting were annulled, after the Constitutional Court of Austria found that electoral rules (as stipulated in federal election law) had been disregarded in 14 out of 20 contested administrative districts (from a total of 117), resulting in over 77,900 absentee votes being improperly counted, however without any indication of votes having been fraudulently manipulated. The second round re-vote firstly was planned for October 2, but was subsequently postponed to December 4, 2016 - the result of a defect in the voting cards for the mail vote.

The graph shows the result of the first round April 24 election.

If you have participated in the April 24 election and have received a new voting card for the "Stichwahl Oktober 2", you are requested to discard it, as you will be receiving a replacement card for the new run-off or STICHWAHL on December 4th, 2016. Only Austrian citizens who have participated in the first round of the election are eligible to participate in a run-off or Stickwahl election. For general information on the process of electing the Austrian Federal President, you may find the following information of interest.

Electoral procedure

Election of the Federal President

The Federal President is elected for 6 years by the citizens of the Republic – i.e., by all citizens who are entitled to vote – by secret ballot in a free and direct general election. If only one candidate runs for office, the election takes the form of a referendum. This regulation, which was introduced in 1982, is primarily intended to allow an incumbent, universally acclaimed Federal President to serve a second term without an election campaign. So far, every incumbent President who has stood for a second term has been re-elected – Adolf Schärf in 1963, Franz Jonas in 1971, Rudolf Kirchschläger in 1980 and Thomas Klestil in 1998.

The Right to Vote

Anyone entitled to vote in the National Assembly election has the right to vote in the presidential election. The right to vote can be exercised only by individuals who are registered to vote. Voting is no longer compulsory in any of the nine Austrian federal states. The former universal legal obligation to vote corresponded to the conservative philosophy according to which political rights also entailed personal duties.

Eligibility for Office

A legitimate candidate must be eligible to vote in the National Assembly election, and he/shehe must have passed his or her 35th birthday as of the end of election day. In fact, the youngest candidate to run for president was Dr. Heide Schmidt, at the age of 44, in 1992.

Reasons for Ineligibility

Members of ruling dynasties or such families that have reigned in the past, and individuals who have already served two consecutive terms as Federal President, cannot be elected. This is to avoid having a permanent president or elected monarch. The presidents of many countries are subject to such rules.

The regulation providing that members of formerly or presently reigning families are ineligible for the office is directed against attempts – which can be observed repeatedly throughout history – to bring back the monarchy via the Presidency of the Republic.

The details of the electoral procedure are defined by the 1971 Presidential Election Act, Federal Law Gazette [Bundesgesetzblatt, BGBl.] No. 57, as amended by Federal Law Gazette [BGBl.] I No. 90/2003.

The Electoral Procedure in Detail

The Federal Government calls the election such that the newly-elected candidate can take office as soon as the outgoing President's term has ended. The announcement of the presidential election must include the election date and the filing date.

Names of candidates must be submitted to the federal electoral authorities no later than 30 days before election day. Each nomination must be signed by at least 6,000 eligible voters. An amount of €3,600 must be paid at the same time.

The Central Electoral Authority must announce the election results immediately in the Official Gazette [Amtsblatt zur Wiener Zeitung]. If the election is not contested, the Federal Chancellor must announce the election results in the Federal Law Gazette at once, whereupon the incumbent Federal President or the President's representative must promptly convoke the Federal Assembly for the inauguration.

Assumption of Office and End of Term


The Oath of Office

According to Article 62(1) of the Federal Constitution of the Republic of Austria (BVG), the Federal President takes the following oath before the Federal Assembly upon assuming office:

“I solemnly promise that I shall faithfully observe the Constitution and all the laws of the Republic and shall fulfil my duty to the best of my knowledge and belief.”

A religious statement is also admissible (Art. 62(2) BVG). Authorisation for this was first given in the 1929 constitutional amendment allowing for a religious statement when taking the oath of office, and was first used on 8 July 1974 by President Kirchschläger. On that occasion, the words “So help me God” were chosen as the religious statement. President Kirchschläger’s example of 1974 and 1980 was followed by Kurt Waldheim (1986) and Thomas Klestil (1992).

President Kirchschläger stressed the simplicity of this oath and emphasised that the transcendental sphere should be avoided. The idea was to remain within the law, with as few limitations as possible. He noted that the pledge is not only a statement of what is expected of the Federal President, “but what should be the fundamental attitude of all citizens.”

The Inauguration

The President’s solemn inauguration ceremony goes beyond a mere matter of protocol and an expression of the acceptance of the election. Before the inauguration, the President-elect already has the powers attributed to his position.

Since the Federal President can only be held responsible for a violation of the Constitution by the Constitutional Court, his or her pledge actually exceeds his or her legal accountability.

The Inaugural Address

Traditionally, the State inauguration ceremony is followed by the Federal President’s inaugural address. Unlike the Federal Government's inaugural address, this is not a statement of government policy, since the Federal President does not function as the head of the government and in this sense also does not govern. Rather, the speech is a statement of how the incoming Federal President intends to fulfil the responsibilities and perform the duties of the Presidency.

End of Term

The Federal President's term ends upon its expiration or upon the death of the President. Alternatively, his term in office may also end following a ruling issued by the Constitutional Court ordering his or her removal from office. Furthermore, he may also be removed by popular referendum (Art. 60(6) BVG) or if convicted of certain illegal actions. Whether or not a Federal President may himself resign (relinquish his or her office) is a disputed question among constitutional experts.