|President of Austria|
8 July 2004 - 8 July 2016
|Alexander Van der Bellen|
|Second President of the National Council|
20 December 2002 - 16 June 2004
|President of the National Council|
5 November 1990 - 20 December 2002
|Minister of Science and Research|
24 May 1983 - 21 January 1987
|Born||9 October 1938|
Graz, Reichsgau Steiermark, State of Austria, Nazi Germany (now Graz, Styria, Austria)
|Political party||Social Democratic Party (before 2004-2016; 2016-present)|
|Alma mater||University of Vienna|
|Awards||Order of Merit of the Italian Republic |
Order of Prince Henry
Royal Order of the Seraphim
Military Order of Saint James of the Sword
Heinz Fischer GColIH OMRI RSerafO GCollSE (German pronunciation: [ha?nts 'f] ; born 9 October 1938 in Graz, Styria) is a former Austrian politician. He took office as President of Austria on 8 July 2004 and was re-elected for a second and last term on 25 April 2010, leaving office on 8 July 2016. Fischer previously served as minister of science from 1983 to 1987 and as president of the National Council of Austria from 1990 to 2002. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ), he suspended his party membership for the duration of his presidency.
Fischer was born in Graz, Styria, which had recently become part of Nazi Germany, following Germany's annexation of Austria in March 1938. Fischer attended a grammar school which focused on humanities and graduated in 1956. He studied law at the University of Vienna, earning a doctorate in 1961. In 1963, at the age of 25, Fischer spent a year volunteering at Kibbutz Sarid, northern Israel. Apart from being a politician, Fischer also pursued an academic career, and became a professor of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck in 1994.
Fischer was a member of the Austrian parliament, the National Council, from 1971, and served as its president from 1990 to 2002. From 1983 to 1987 he was minister of science in a coalition government headed by Fred Sinowatz.
In January 2004 Fischer announced that he would run for president to succeed Thomas Klestil. He was elected on 25 April 2004 as the candidate of the opposition Social Democratic Party. He polled 52.4 per cent of the votes to defeat Benita Ferrero-Waldner, then foreign minister in the ruling conservative coalition led by the People's Party.
Fischer was sworn in on 8 July 2004 and took over office from the college of presidents of the National Council, who had acted for the president following Klestil's death on 6 July.
Fischer's critics, foremost among them Norbert Leser, his university colleague, have derided him as a career politician (Berufspolitiker) who has never been in touch with the real world. They claim that Fischer has always avoided controversy and conflict, even when that seemed required, pointing to Fischer's tacit support for Bruno Kreisky in his attacks on Simon Wiesenthal. On being nominated for president, Fischer said that he hated antagonising people and that he considered this quality an asset rather than anything else.
In April 2010, Fischer was re-elected president of Austria, winning a second six-year term in office with almost 79% of the votes. The voter turnout of merely 53.6% was a record low. Around a third of those eligible to vote voted for Fischer, leading the conservative daily Die Presse to describe the election as an "absolute majority for non-voters". The reasons behind the low turnout may have been that pollsters had predicted a safe victory for Fischer (past Austrian presidents running for a second term had always won) and that the other large party, ÖVP, had not nominated a candidate of their own, and had not endorsed any of the three candidates. Prominent ÖVP members, unofficially but in public, even suggested to cast a blank vote, which 7% of the voters did.
| President of the National Council
| President of Austria
Alexander Van der Bellen