Country of the World Austria

About the country Austria, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Landlocked in central Europe, Austria is 75% Alps. Only the easternmost portion of the country levels out to gentle hills.

Size: 32,375 sq. mi. (83,850 sq. km.), about the size of Maine.

Population: 7.7 million.

Who Rules: All legislation comes under the purview of both chambers of the National Assembly: the Nationalrat, the popularly elected lower body, and the Bundesrat, the upper house, which can delay but cannot veto bills duly passed by the Nationalrat.

Who REALLY Rules: Chancellor Bruno Kreisky, the first Socialist leader in modern Austria, holds real power. Although Austria has maintained strict neutrality in the ideological conflict between the Communist bloc and the West, the Kreisky government recently has thrown its weight on the side of dissidents protesting the oppressive regimes of the Soviet satellite countries.

Because of Austria's professed neutrality in world affairs, a major scandal erupted when word leaked out that the government had been secretly supplying arms to Syria. The report forced the resignation of Defense Minister Karl Luetgendorf.

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