Everything You Need to Know About Austrian Student Union (ÖH) Elections 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Austrian Student Union (ÖH) Elections 2023

Ninika Schrey

 

It’s time again – the upcoming federal biennial Austrian student election falls from May 9th – May 11 this year. To underline the importance of this event: it builds up the representation of higher education institutions in every social, political, and economic aspect by electing three representatives of the ÖH, chosen for and by the students.

 

What is the ÖH? 

The Austrian National Union of Students’ federal body of Representatives (German: “ÖH”) was founded in 1946. It is the legal representative of all students at universities or colleges. Every second-year student gets to directly elect the Austrian National Students’ Union for improvements in political fields and student lifestyle situations.

Who Can Vote in the Austrian Student Union Elections?

Every student with a valid student ID attending public or private universities and technical or teaching colleges is eligible to vote for their advocacy of interest. As for the representation areas of studies, college, and federation, you will receive three ballots for your voice each.

Having paid the student union fee for the summer semester by March 21st, 2023, is pre-conditional for students to be entitled to elect representatives. If you cannot vote in person at your university between May 9th – May 11th, postal voting provides another option to cast a vote. It can simply be requested online until the 2nd of May on the official website of the Austrian Students’ Union or at their office. Voters can also pick up the postal vote there.

How Are the Representatives Elected?

First, the Federal Representation is based in Vienna with 55 mandates, each corresponding to one seat. In the election of the federal representation, only a faction is elected, the so-called “campaign group.”

The same counts for the University Representation, which comes with 17 mandates and therefore offers 17 seats, depending on the number of university voters.

Lastly, student representation comprises either three or five mandates. In this case, it depends on the number of eligible voters. If more than 400 voters belong to a student council, it will be five mandates; anything below, just three.

Former representatives and current candidates 

Since 2021 a left coalition of the Socialist Students of Austria (VSStÖ), the Green and Alternative Students’ (GRAS), and Independent Student Council Lists (FLÖ) has represented students’ interests. Recent information about the new campaigning groups and their candidates is available in the candidate section.

Can International Students Run For Student Union Representative?

International Students, both EU and non-EU, who own a valid student ID and have paid their Student Union fee on time, have the right to vote in Austria’s student election. But they cannot be candidates for student representation. Our question on why international students aren’t eligible to run for reps, officially sent to a current official representative, was ignored.

In conclusion, the Students Union elections occur every two years and offer students the right to elect representatives on social, economic, and political levels to refine students’ daily life. To vote, it is necessary to register before the deadline and to have paid the required semester fee.

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