Jump to content

Liberal Forum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Liberales Forum)

Liberal Forum
Liberales Forum
LeaderAngelika Mlinar
Founded4 February 1993
Dissolved25 January 2014
Split fromFreedom Party of Austria
Merged intoNEOS
HeadquartersDürergasse 6/10 A-1060 Vienna
Political positionCentre
European affiliationAlliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party
International affiliationLiberal International
Colours  Yellow
Former logo

The Liberal Forum (German: Liberales Forum, LiF) was a centrist,[1][2][3] liberal[4][5][6][7] political party in Austria. The party was active from February 1993 to January 2014, when the party merged into NEOS – The New Austria.[8]

A member of the Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, it was founded as a classical liberal split from the FPÖ due to its right-wing populist stances[9] and was placed on the libertarian/post-materialist on a two-axis political spectrum, alongside The Greens – The Green Alternative, in a 2000 comparative analysis among Austrian political parties.[10]


The Liberal Forum (LiF) was founded on 4 February 1993, when liberals in the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), including five members of the National Council of Austria, left the party. The five Nationalrat members were Heide Schmidt, Klara Motter, Friedhelm Frischenschlager, Hans Helmut Moser, and Thomas Barmüller. Heide Schmidt (who was third 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 nationalist camp. Jörg Haider launched a petition-drive against foreign immigrants in Austria, the so-called Austria First Referendum (Österreich Zuerst Volksbegehren). This in turn was unacceptable to Heide Schmidt and her followers. The founders of the new party wanted to be a liberal party in the classical sense, which the FPÖ had ceased to be since the resignation of Norbert Steger and the rise of Haider.

LiF was the first party in the history of the Second Republic (since 1945) 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 and LiF took over its membership in its place. 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 plummeted, and it failed to gain any seats. In the elections of 3 October 1999, the party obtained 3.65% of all votes and therefore failed to surmount 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 the party lost all seats on the district level in the elections of 2005.

LiF decided not to contest the 2009 European election, focussing on refounding and building up the party instead. The Young Liberals (JuLis), the LIF's student and youth organisation, contested the election independently instead.[11]

LiF contested the 2013 legislative election in an electoral alliance with newly formed NEOS – The New Austria.[12] On 25 January 2014, LiF merged into NEOS, which took the full name of NEOS – The New Austria and Liberal Forum.[8][13]


According to its founding charter, the LiF propagated political liberalism and advocated a free market economy. Furthermore, the party wanted environmental protection and supported world peace.[14] The party supported:[citation needed]

Chairpersons since 1993[edit]

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 (Social Democratic Party of Austria, SPÖ) and black (Austrian People's Party, 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.

Werner FaymannAlfred GusenbauerWolfgang SchüsselViktor KlimaFranz VranitzkyAngelika MlinarWerner BecherAlexander ZachFriedhelm FrischenschlagerChristian KöckHeide Schmidt

Parliamentary election results[edit]

National Council[edit]

National Council of Austria
Election year # of total votes % of overall vote # of seats Government
1994 276,580 (5th) 6.00%
11 / 183
in opposition
1995 267,026 (4th) 5.51%
10 / 183
in opposition
1999 168,612 (5th) 3.59%
0 / 183
2002 48,083 (5th) 0.97%
0 / 183
2006 Contested election on SPÖ list
1 / 183
in government
2008 102,249 (6th) 2.09%
0 / 183
2013 Contested election on NEOS list
2 / 183
in opposition

European Parliament[edit]

European Parliament
Election year # of total votes % of overall vote # of seats
1996 161,583 (5th) 4.26%
1 / 21
1999 74,467 (5th) 2.66%
0 / 21


On 7 June 2005, MEP Karin Resetarits left the party of Hans-Peter Martin, following several disagreements with him. She crossed the floor and has taken her seat with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. Subsequently, In 2006 she also joined the Liberal Forum and represented them in the European Parliament.

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

The Liberal Forum participated in the 2008 elections, its Electoral list led by the former chairperson Heide Schmidt.[15] 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.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wodak, Ruth; Pelinka, Anton (2002). The Haider Phenomenon in Austria. New York: Transaction Publishers. p. xviii. ISBN 978-0-7658-0883-7.
  2. ^ Hloušek, Vít (2006). "The limited Role of Electoral Game Rules: the Austrian Party System in "Post-Rokkanian" Settings" (PDF). Politics in Central Europe. 2 (1): 35. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  3. ^ Missiroli, Antonio (2006). "The New Kids on the EU Block: Austria, Finland and Sweden". The International Spectator. 30 (4): 13–29. doi:10.1080/03932729508458099.
  4. ^ Edgar Grande; Martin Dolezal; Marc Helbling; Dominic Höglinger (31 July 2012). Political Conflict in Western Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-107-02438-0. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  5. ^ Ruth Wodak; Anton Pelinka (2002). The Haider Phenomenon in Austria. Transaction Publishers. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-4128-2493-4. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  6. ^ Cas Mudde (2002). The Ideology of the Extreme Right. Manchester University Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7190-6446-3. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  7. ^ Terri E. Givens (10 October 2005). Voting Radical Right in Western Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-139-44670-9. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  8. ^ a b "NEOS offiziell mit LIF fusioniert", Kleine Zeitung, 25 January 2014, archived from the original on 1 February 2014
  9. ^ John Sandford (3 April 2013). Encyclopedia of Contemporary German Culture. Routledge. p. 373. ISBN 978-1-136-81603-1.
  10. ^ Plasser, Fritz; Ulram, Peter A. (2000). "The Changing Austrian Voter" (PDF). Demokratiezentrum Wien. p. 21. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2021. Flanagan goes further and adds a third conflict axis to the two-dimensional conflict pattern of advanced industrial societies, namely the cleavage between a libertarian New Left and an authoritarian New Right, which is stirred up by polarising controversial issues such as immigration or the integration of immigrants.
  11. ^ Liberale[dead link]
  12. ^ "Austria ready for Liberals' pink vibrations". ALDE Party. 29 September 2013. Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Fusion von NEOS und LIF bestätigt", ORF.at, 25 January 2014
  14. ^ Charta[third-party source needed] Archived 11 January 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "www.austriantimes.at". Austrian Times (in German). Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Zach legt Vorsitz und Mandat nieder". derStandard. 23 September 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2016.

External links[edit]