Perspectives of Austrian and Canadian Federalism Essay

Perspectives of Austrian and Canadian Federalism Essay

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A federation is a type of sovereign state in which a number of smaller self-governing states are united by a federal government (Watts)1. However, all federations are not made equal. There exists a great amount of variation between federal states on a number of functional areas. The aspect of federalism that this paper will address is power centralization. The two countries that will be compared are Austria and Canada. This author will attempt to prove that Austria’s federal system is more centralized than Canada’s by analyzing their orders of government, their constitutional mandates, and the impact of sociocultural cleavages on the federal model.
The federation of Austria consists of nine constituent states collectively referred to as the Länder, and singularly referred to as Land (Gamper 1)2. Each of them has an elected legislature called the Landtag. The federal legislature consists of two houses, the National Council (Nationalrat) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat). The National Council is the lower house of the bicameral legislature; it consists of 183 members and is elected directly by the citizens of Austria (Gamper 2)3. The Federal Council is consequently the upper house, and its 62 members are elected by the Landtag. The two houses are commonly referred to as peers but, as the evidence will demonstrate, the power lies decidedly in the hands of the National Council with little impact by any other order of government. The citizens of Austria vote for the Federal President directly, and although in theory the President has a wide range of powers, they have been essentially reduced to the role of a figurehead (Gamper 6)4. Federalism has little to no influence on the design of the executive or any influence on ...


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...The Global Review of Federalism 32.2 (2002): 49-71. JSTOR. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.
Erk, Jan. "Austria: A Federation without Federalism." Publius: The Journal of Federalism 34.1 (2004): 1-20. JSTOR. Web. 16 Feb. 2012.
Gamper, Anna. "Republic of Austria." Forum of Federations. International Association of Centers for Federal Study, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2012. .
Requejo, Ferran. "Federalism and National Groups." International Social Science Journal 53.167 (2002): 41-49. Wiley. Web. 15 Feb. 2012.
Rohr, John A.. "Public Administration and Comparative Constitutionalism: The Case of Canadian Federalism." Public Administration Review 57.4 (1997): 339-346. JSTOR. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.
Watts, Ronald. "Federalism." Forum of Federations. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2012.
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