1986 Austrian presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Austria on 4 May 1986 with a second round on 8 June 1986. Kurt Waldheim, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, endorsed by the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) was elected, the first time the ÖVP had won a direct presidential election. Following Waldheim's victory, Chancellor Fred Sinowatz and other government members of the defeated Socialist Party stepped down, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Leopold Gratz, who said he refused to "direct the Austrian foreign service in the defense of President Waldheim."[1] The revelation of Waldheim's service in Greece and Yugoslavia, as an intelligence officer in Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II, caused international controversy.

1986 Austrian presidential election

← 1980 4 May 1986 (first round)
8 June 1986 (second round)
1992 →
  Kurt Waldheim UN.jpg 3x4.svg
Nominee Kurt Waldheim Kurt Steyrer
Party Independent (ÖVP) SPÖ
Popular vote 2,464,787 2,107,023
Percentage 53.91% 46.09%

1986 Austrian presidential election, round 2.svg
1986 Austrian presidential election, round 1.svg

President before election

Rudolf Kirchschläger

Elected President

Kurt Waldheim
Independent (ÖVP)


CandidatePartyFirst roundSecond round
Kurt WaldheimIndependent (ÖVP)2,343,46349.652,464,78753.91
Kurt SteyrerSocialist Party of Austria2,061,10443.672,107,02346.09
Freda Meissner-BlauGreen Party259,6895.50
Otto ScrinziFreedom Party of Austria55,7241.18
Valid votes4,719,98097.024,571,81096.33
Invalid/blank votes144,7292.98174,0393.67
Total votes4,864,709100.004,745,849100.00
Registered voters/turnout5,436,84689.485,436,84687.29
Source: Ministry of Interior


  1. ^ Jill Smolowe. Reported by Gertraud Lessing/Vienna and Robert Slater/Jerusalem (21 July 1986) AUSTRIA LAST HURRAHS Few smiles after a big victory, TIME, retrieved 26 May 2010.