The Legislative system of the Austrian Empire can be somewhat equal to the Westminster system. The Austrian legislature is the Reichsrat(Imperial Council). It is composed of two houses. The House of Lords(Herrenhaus) and the House of Representatives(Abgeordnetenhaus).
House of Lords(Herrenhaus)
Every legislation passed in the Lower House(House of Representatives) requires the consent of the House of Lords with the exception of government budget and military recruitment.
Membership in the House of Lords is attained by inheritance, by appointment or by an ecclesiastical role in the Catholic Church. It is composed of:
- Adult Archdukes of the ruling Habsburg dynasty.
- Archbishops of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
- Austrian noblemen appointed as hereditary peers by Emperor of Austria
- Austrian citizens appointed as life peers.
House of Representatives(Abgeordnetenhaus)
The House of Representatives is the elected Lower House of the Reichsrat. It is composed of 516 seats and three groups:
- His Majesty's Government - The largest party/coalition is marked as His Majesty's Goverment(officially His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty's Government). This group forms the government with the chairman or candidate of the largest party being the Minister-President. After the May 19 1884 reform, the government must have 51% if the seats in the house. This reform will take place in the next election.
- His Majesty's Official Opposition - The second largest party/coalition after the Government is marked as His Majesty's Official Opposition(officially His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty's Official Opposition). This group is permitted to form the 'shadow cabinet'. It poses the biggest threat to the legislation of the HM's Government.
- Other Opposition/Independant - The rest of the parties which are not a part of the two larger groups. They do not work as one body, but are each for themselves, unless they are in a coalition.
Law on Legislation
For a legislation to be passed it requires 55% of the vote in favour of it in the Lower House. In the Upper House all that is necessary is more votes in favour.
If a Government was in minority, it is their choice if they wish to resign and start a new election or remain as the government. A minority goverment would be facing a trouble passing their legislation.
May 19 1884 reforms
Reforms introduced on 19 May in 1884 are the following:
- HM's Government reform - A government will require 51% of the seats in the parliament to be considered a government. Government is considered to be in minority when the percentage of seats held by the HM's Official Opposition is higher than that of the HM's government(planned to be put into effect on 1 June 1884).
- Coalition reform - Coalitions may be formed three(3) days after the first results of the election. After that period, coalition can be formed but the smaller party would be prohibited from voting on any legislation for one(1) week. Coalitions may be formed by maximum three parties(planned to be put into effect on 1 June 1884)