Elections in Tirol

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This article provides information on elections and election results in Tirol.

On the national level, there are two main elections: senatorial elections and legislative elections to determine the composition of the National Council (Cunsëi dl Tirol), the lower house of Tirol's bicameral Parliament. These elections are governed by constitutional law.

National Council elections must be held every six years by proportional representation. Such elections may be called early if the National Council is dissolved prematurely, though the subsequently elected council will fulfil the remainder of the previous council's term so as to maintain the 5 May election date.

Tirol's premier (Premiera) is elected indirectly, by the deputies of the National Council

Tirol has a two-party system. From 1900 to 1993, Tiroler elections and politics generally were dominated by one main party, the League Party. From 1993 onward a two-party system evolved, with the Labour Party increasingly proving a successful competitor. The three most recent governments have all been Labour-led. Following the 2011 National Council elections, the Labour Party won an outright majority needing no support. Despite left-wing parties losing vote-share in the 2017 National Council elections, Labour retained a majority and marginally increased its share of the popular vote.

For a political party to be represented in the National Council, it must either receive at least 4% of all valid votes cast nationwide or win one mandate in one of the provincial districts. If a party fails to satisfy either requirement, it is not entitled to participate in the proportional allocation of seats based on the party's share of the votes. This restriction is designed to discourage political parties from splintering and producing an unmanageable proliferation of small parties in parliament. There are a few exceptions where parties are granted minority status, such as the Adige Party which represents the Quebecophone community in Provinzia Adesc.

In some cases, a national referendum can be called by the Tiroler Parliament.

In 2006, the voting age was lowered from 21 to 17 in all elections, following a Labour-sponsored bill which received support from the Liberty and the Alliance.

Voting rights and restrictions

Tiroler election law distinguishes between the "active" right to vote and the "passive" right to be elected, with different minimum-age requirements. Citizens who will have attained age 17 by election day and older may exercise the right to vote in elections at all levels of government. Citizens 21 and up may stand as candidates in elections generally, whilst to be elected to the senate, one must be of age 30 or higher.

Citizens who are sentenced to more than five years of imprisonment can lose their voting rights for the duration of their sentence if the judge determines that such a suspension is warranted. This preclusion period is shortened to one year for specific offenses (such as terrorism, voter fraud, and treason).

Members of current or former ruling noble houses are ineligible for office.

The Proportional Representation (PR) System in Tirol

The overall objective of Tirol’s election system for parliament is to assure the proportional allocation of seats based on the share of the votes received by the political parties at the polls so that the composition of the legislative body will faithfully represent the preferences of the electorate.

This system requires voters to select among political parties on their ballot, rather than among competing candidates. The standard manner of expressing that choice is by placing an ‘x’ in the circle next to the name of the party on the paper ballot. There is as yet no legal basis for e-voting in Tiroler elections. Party lists are closed and determined by only each party's leadership structure.

Conversion of votes to seats in National Council elections

In elections for the National Council, which is the lower house of Tirol’s parliament, proportionality is maximized through the utilisation of a three-stage process of allocating mandates.

For purposes of National Council elections, each province (provinzia) constitutes an electoral unit, and each of the provinces is subdivided into regional electoral districts. Political parties may compete nationwide, but are not required to do so. In order to receive any representation in the National Council, however, a party must satisfy at least one of two alternative conditions: Win a basic mandate in one of the regional districts or receive at least 4% of all valid votes cast nationwide. Some parties are not required to fulfil these conditions by being declared official minority parties, for example the Adige Party.

In order to win a basic mandate, the party must receive enough votes to meet or exceed 4% in at least one regional district.

As can be seen in this example, smaller parties do better under this variant of the PR system when their electoral support is concentrated geographically. As also illustrated, seemingly arcane details in the mechanics of how votes are counted and converted into seats can have important consequences.

Latest parliamentary elections

2017 legislative election

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Labour Party 11,746,751 56 392 +39
League Party 6,352,835 30 212 +19
Freedom & Justice Party 1,408,411 6.7 47 +31
Liberty Party 719,189 3.4 24 –10
Greens 389,560 1.9 13 +10
Alliance Party 179,797 0.9 6 –3
Internationale Party 89,912 0.4 3 –86
Adige Party 59,932 0.3 2 0


The Tiroler constitution defines two types of referendums on the national level: binding referendums and non-binding referendums.

Binding referendum

A binding referendum is mandatory:

A binding referendum is facultative (not mandatory) in case of non-comprehensive changes in the Constitution. Such facultative referendum is to be conducted if at least one third of the members of the National Council requests it.

There have only been two binding referendums post-1990: The 2006 Tirol franchise referendum and the 2015 Tirol constitutional amendment referendum which was called to eliminate the term limit, which was deemed to be a comprehensive change to the Constitution.

Non-binding referendum

The National Council has the power to call on a non-binding referendum on matters of great importance. Such a referendum is called by majority of members of the National Council. Results of such a referendum are advisory.