Five years since the last general elections were held in Austria in 2008, on 29 September 2013, the people of Austria will elect their new parliament. For those unfamiliar with Austria's political structure, here's a brief summary:
Austria is a federation of states organised as a parliamentary democracy and headed by a president. The parliament constitutes the federal legislative authority and thus makes the federal laws, which are executed by the Austrian government and controlled by the Austrian judicial system. Due to the multitude of political parties active in Austria (caused by the principal of proportional representation), governments consist of coalitions of several political parties, that hold a majority of the 183 seats in the parliament. Thus, the Austrian government does not get directly chosen by the Austrian people, but is the result of negotiations based on the outcome of the legislative elections.
Austria is currently governed by a coalition government of the two biggest political parties - the Social-Democrats (SPÖ) and the Liberals (ÖVP). According to the latest polls, this coalition hangs on to a very slim majority of 52% of the votes (SPÖ 27%; ÖVP 25%). Some earlier polls even contest that the coalition has a majority and rates both parties at an aggregate of 49-50%. While the Austrian media - so far - have chosen to profile the road towards the elections as a tight struggle between SPÖ and ÖVP to become the largest political party in Austria, the opposition parties may attempt to break down the coalition, in order to get a chance at becoming part of the government themselves.
According to the polls, the largest member of the opposition, the far-right FPÖ, has a stable support among the electorate of 18-19% of the votes. The Green party moves between 13 and 16 per cent, Team Stronach (founded by euro-skeptic Austrian-Canadian business man Frank Stronach) is expected to get up to 10% of the votes, with the rest of the votes divided up between several smaller political parties, including the BZÖ of Gerhard Huber and the late Jörg Haider.