Liberal Forum


Liberal Forum

Infobox_Austrian_Political_Party
party_name = Liberales Forum
party_
party_articletitle = PAGENAME
leader = Heide Schmidt (interim)
foundation = February 4 1993
(emerged from FPÖ)
ideology = Liberalism
position = Centre
international = Liberal International
european = European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party
europarl = Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
colours = yellow (light blue until 2001)
headquarters = Dürergasse 6/10
A-1060 Vienna
website = http://liberale.at

The Liberal Forum ( _de. Liberales Forum, LIF) is a small liberal party in Austria. It is currently led by Alexander Zach, and is a member of the Liberal International organisation and the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.

Founding

It was founded on February 4 1993, when liberals within the FPÖ, including five members of the National Council ("Nationalrat", lower house of the parliament), seceded from the party. The five "Nationalrat" members were Heide Schmidt, Klara Motter, Friedhelm Frischenschlager, Hans Helmut Moser, and Thomas Barmüller. Heide Schmidt (who was 3rd president of the "Nationalrat" until 1994) became the party's first chairperson.

The reason for the split within the FPÖ was growing disagreements between the liberal wing and the nationalistic camp. Jörg Haider launched a petition-drive against foreign immigrants in Austria (the so-called "Österreich Zuerst Volksbegehren" ["Austria First Referendum"] ). This in turn was unacceptable to Heide Schmidt and her followers. The founders of the new party wanted a true, liberal party in the classic sense, which the FPÖ had ceased to be since the resignation of Norbert Steger and the rise of Haider.

The "Liberales Forum" was the first party in the history of the Second Republic to achieve immediate seats in parliament without prior elections. After some initial confusion, the chairs of the house accepted the new formation as an official party, thereby granting access to public financial means of support. The FPÖ left the Liberal International organisation and the Liberal Forum took over that membership in its place instead. The party managed to gain 11 seats in the 1994 parliamentary elections, and with 5.51% of all votes cast 10 seats in the 1995 elections.

However, following the resignation of Schmidt as chairperson and the elections in 1999, the party's support has plummeted and it failed to gain any seats. In the elections of October 3 1999 the party obtained 3.65% of all votes and therefore failed to overcome the 4% mandatory threshold in order to enter parliament. In the elections of 2002 it obtained 1% of the vote and got no seats. As a consequence it also lost votes in state elections and is only represented on the communal level. In Vienna it lost all seats on the district level in the elections of 2005.

According to its founding charter the Liberal Forum propagates political liberalism and advocates a free market oriented economy. Only if the economy and business fare well, are the foundations for social welfare of the people provided. Furthermore the party wants environmental protection and supports world peace. [http://www.liberale.at/charta.pdf]

ome viewpoints of the Liberal Forum

*Promotion of privatisation
*Legalisation of cannabis
*Equalisation of homosexuals
*Liberalisation of shopping hours
*Decrease of the voting age

Chairpersons since 1993

The chart below shows a timeline of the Liberal chairpersons and the Chancellors of Austria. The left bar shows all the chairpersons ("Bundessprecher", abbreviated as "CP") of the Liberal party, and the right bar shows the corresponding make-up of the Austrian government at that time. The red (SPÖ) and black (ÖVP) colours correspond to which party led the federal government ("Bundesregierung", abbreviated as "Govern."). The last names of the respective chancellors are shown, the Roman numeral stands for the cabinets.

ImageSize = width:420 height:300PlotArea = width:370 height:250 left:50 bottom:50

DateFormat = yyyyPeriod = from:1993 till:2008TimeAxis = orientation:verticalScaleMajor = unit:year increment:2 start:1993

# there is no automatic collision detection,
# so shift texts up or down manually to avoid overlap

Colors= id:LIF value:yellow

Define $dx = 25 # shift text to right side of barDefine $dy = -4 # adjust height

PlotData=

bar:CP color:red width:25 mark:(line,white) align:left fontsize:S

from:1993 till:2000 shift:($dx,$dy) color:LIF text:Heide Schmidt from:2000 till:2000 shift:($dx,$dy) color:LIF text:Christian Köck from:2000 till:2001 shift:($dx,$dy) color:LIF text:Friedhelm Frischenschlager from:2001 till:2008 shift:($dx,$dy) color:LIF text:Alexander Zach from:2008 till:end shift:($dx,$dy) color:LIF text:Heide Schmidt

bar:Govern. color:red width:25 mark:(line,white) align:left fontsize:7

from:1993 till:1994 shift:($dx,$dy) color:SPÖ text:Vranitzky III from:1994 till:1996 shift:($dx,$dy) color:SPÖ text:Vranitzky IV from:1996 till:1997 shift:($dx,$dy) color:SPÖ text:Vranitzky V from:1997 till:2000 shift:($dx,$dy) color:SPÖ text:Klima from:2000 till:2003 shift:($dx,$dy) color:ÖVP text:Schüssel I from:2003 till:2007 shift:($dx,$dy) color:ÖVP text:Schüssel II from:2007 till:end shift:($dx,$dy) color:SPÖ text:Gusenbauer I

Parliamentary election results

Notes

On June 7 2005 MEP Karin Resetarits left the party of Hans-Peter Martin, following several disagreements with him. She crossed the floor and has now taken her seat with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Subsequently, she also joined the Liberal Forum and now represents them in the European Parliament.

In the 2006 elections, the Liberal Forum did not stand, but chairman Alexander Zach instead ran for the Social Democratic Party of Austria as an independent.

The Liberal Forum will be participating to the 2008 elections, its Electoral list led by the former chairperson Heide Schmidt. [http://www.austriantimes.at/index.php?id=7746] Shortly before the elections, there were allegations that Zach had lobbied for EADS, leading to his resignation in order to protect the party's integrity; Schmidt took over as interim leader. [http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=1220458816922%26_lexikaRange=1]

ee also

*Liberalism in Austria
*Liberalism
*Liberal democracy
*List of liberal parties
*Liberalism worldwide
*Contributions to liberal theory

References

External links

* [http://www.liberale.at/ Liberal Forum] official site


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