Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Deputies / Austrian parliament): After the March Revolution of 1848 the Pillersdorf Constitution transferred legislative power to a Reichstag consisting of two houses (Abgeordnetenhaus and Senate). Members of the Abgeordnetenhaus were elected, manual workers and all people in need of aid were not entitled to vote. The actual bicameral system (Abgeordnetenhaus and Herrenhaus (Upper Chamber)) was not introduced until 1861, when the February Patent (constitution written by A. Schmerling, approved by Emperor Franz Josef in 1861) went into effect. The Abgeordnetenhaus, which together with the Upper Chamber formed the Reichsrat, (Imperial Diet) at first comprised 343 representatives appointed by the Landtage, including 120 from the Hungarian part of the empire. After the electoral reform of 1873, the representatives (of the western half of the empire) were elected directly, but still within 4 subdivisions; the only people entitled to vote were those who paid at least 10 florins in direct taxes annually (= 6 % of the adult population); the number of representatives was also raised to 353. Count K. Badeni's electoral reform (1896) enlarged the Abgeordnetenhaus and subjected it to comprehensive political restructuring. After the Suffrage Act of 1906 was passed, the 516 members of the Abgeordnetenhaus were elected directly by universal, equal suffrage (for men) in secret ballot. Before taking action, the government was required to present financial bills, bills on the sale of state property, on the increase of state debts and on recruiting quotas; all other matters were to be proposed according to the judgement of the two chambers. Since the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in 1918 the Abgeordnetenhaus has been called the Nationalrat (National Council) (until 1920 the Nationalversammlung (National Assembly)).
The Abgeordnetenhaus in Vienna was originally accommodated in a temporary wooden building (built in 1861) in Währinger Straße near Schottentor; it was moved to the Parliament building after its completion in 1883.
Further reading: G. Kolmer, Parlament und Verfassung in Österreich. 1848-1918, 8 vols., 1902ff; H. Schambeck, Österr. Parlamentarismus, 1986.