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Liberal Forum

Liberal Forum
Liberales Forum
Leader Angelika Mlinar
Founded 4 February 1993
Dissolved 25 January 2014
Split from Freedom Party of Austria
Merged into NEOS
Headquarters Dürergasse 6/10
A-1060 Vienna
Ideology Liberalism
Classical liberalism[1]
Political position Centre[3][4][5]
International affiliation Liberal International
European affiliation Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
Colours yellow (light blue until 2001)
Politics of Austria
Political parties
Former logo

The Liberal Forum (German: Liberales Forum, LiF) was a liberal[6][7][8][9] political party in Austria. The party was active from February 1993 to January 2014, when the party merged into NEOS – The New Austria.[10] The party was a member of the Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party.


  • Founding 1
  • Ideology 2
  • Chairpersons since 1993 3
  • Parliamentary election results 4
  • Notes 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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

  • Liberal Forum official site

External links

  1. ^ John Sandford (3 April 2013). Encyclopedia of Contemporary German Culture. Routledge. p. 373.  
  2. ^ The Changing Austrian Voter by Fritz Plasser and Peter A. Ulram
  3. ^ Wodak, Ruth; Pelinka, Anton (2002). The Haider Phenomenon in Austria. New York: Transaction Publishers. p. xviii.  
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Missiroli, Antonio (2006). "The New Kids on the EU Block: Austria, Finland and Sweden". The International Spectator 30 (4): 13–29.  
  6. ^ Edgar Grande; Martin Dolezal; Marc Helbling; Dominic Höglinger (31 July 2012). Political Conflict in Western Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 52.  
  7. ^  
  8. ^ Cas Mudde (2002). The Ideology of the Extreme Right. Manchester University Press. p. 9.  
  9. ^ Terri E. Givens (10 October 2005). Voting Radical Right in Western Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 23.  
  10. ^ a b "NEOS offiziell mit LIF fusioniert", Kleine Zeitung, 25 January 2014 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Fusion von NEOS und LIF bestätigt",, 25 January 2014 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^


See also

The Liberal Forum participated to 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]

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.

On June 7, 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, she also joined the Liberal Forum and represented them in the European Parliament.


Results of the LIF in National Council elections
Year Percentage of votes received Mandates
2008 2,1% (+2,1) 0 (-1)
2006 did not run 1 (Alexander Zach got a seat of the SPÖ's list)
2002 0.98% (-2.7) 0 (-)
1999 3.7% (-1.8) 0 (-10)
1995 5.5% (-0.5) 10 (-1)
1994 6.0% (+6.0) 11 (+11)

Parliamentary election results

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.

Chairpersons since 1993

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:


LiF contested the 2013 legislative election in an electoral alliance with newly-formed NEOS – The New Austria.[12] On 25 January 2014 LiF finally merged into NEOS which took the full name of "NEOS – The New Austria and Liberal Forum".[10][13]


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