The legal structure of the Republic of Austria

Austria is a federal state consisting of nine federal provinces. Its constitution is typically republican-democratic and is based on a (moderately) federalist structure.

The federal state (in constitutional terms: the superordinate state; in Austria colloquially known as "Bund", i.e. "the federation") is in charge of key tasks such as federal legislation, external and defence policies as well as general jurisdiction.

The Republic is divided into nine federal provinces, which are also vested with legislative and executive powers.

The municipalities are the smallest units in the state organisation and as such have no legislative powers. However, they are entitled to issue general regulations (ordinances) and in practice perform many public administrative tasks. They are independent administrative bodies, i.e. their own sphere of competence is defined in and "protected" by the federal constitution. They are not subject to directions from other authorities or institutions in this field, notwithstanding the fact that they are under state supervision.

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