Democratic Reform: Federalism and Direct Democracy
Democratic reform is a very wide-ranging concept and is variously understood in Austria. For some, such as the Greens it means a radically different approach to the very processes of government. In this view limited institutional changes, though perhaps useful, cannot suffice. More openness and more political conflict, less consensus-and less coalition-mentality would be required. For others, such as the FPÖ’s new Aufsteiger or Quereinsteiger generation voters (yuppies) what is needed is more room for individual initiative, less corporatism, less parteibuchwirtshaft (party membership-card economy), less privilege and patronage for the political class and more control of government. For others in the political mainstream, these issues are more a matter of degree, and limited institutional reforms are seen as useful. Thus, largely at the initiative of the ÖVP, the 1987 coalition agreement contains a section on democracy, which covers federalism, direct democracy, electoral reform and parliamentary reform.
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