in principle and by instinct, they waited to ascertain the mind of the emperor, before actively opposing the reform. With the exception of the German Populists who felt that a German “Liberal” party could not well oppose an extension of popular rights, all the German Liberals were antagonistic, some bitterly, to the measure. The Constitutional Landed Proprietors who had played so large a part in Austrian politics since the 'sixties, and had for a generation held the leadership of the German element in parliament and in the country, saw themselves doomed and the leadership of the Germans given to the Christian Socialists. None of the representatives of the curia system fought so tenaciously for their privileges as did the German nominees of the curia of large landed proprietors. Their opposition proved unavailing. The emperor frowned repeatedly upon their efforts.
Baron Gautsch fell in April over a difference with the Poles, and Baron Beck premier. his successor, Prince Konrad zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, who had taken over the reform bills, resigned also, six weeks later, as a protest against the action of the crown in consenting to the enactment of a customs tariff in Hungary distinct from, though identical with, the joint Austro-Hungarian tariff comprised in the Széll-Körber compact and enacted as a joint tariff by the Reichsrath. A new cabinet was formed (June 2) by Baron von Beck, permanent under secretary of state in the ministry for agriculture, an official of considerable ability who had first acquired prominence as an instructor of the heir apparent, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, in constitutional and administrative law. By dint of skilful negotiation with the various parties and races, and steadily supported by the emperor who, on one occasion, summoned the recalcitrant party leaders to the Hofburg ad audiendum verbum and told them the reform “must be accomplished,” Baron Beck succeeded, in October 1906, in attaining a final agreement, and on the 1st of December in securing the adoption of the reform. During the negotiations the number of constituencies was raised to 516, divided, according to provinces, as follows:—
|Görz and Gradisca||6||"||5|
|Trieste and territory||5||"||5|
In the allotment of the constituencies to the various races their tax-paying capacity was taken into consideration. In mixed districts separate constituencies and registers were established for the electors of each race, who could only vote on their own register for a candidate of their own race. Thus Germans were obliged to vote for Germans and Czechs for Czechs; and, though there might be victories of Clerical over Liberal Germans or of Czech Radicals over Young Czechs, there could be no victories of Czechs over Germans, Poles over Ruthenes, or Slovenes over Italians. The constituencies were divided according to race as follows:—
|Germans of all parties||233||previously||205|
|Czechs of all parties||108||"||81|
|Southern Slavs (Slovenes, Croats, Serbs)||37||"||27|
These allotments were slightly modified at the polls by the victory of some Social Democratic candidates not susceptible of strict racial classification. The chief feature of the allotment was, however, the formal overthrow of the fiction that Austria is preponderatingly a German country and not a country preponderatingly Slav with a German dynasty and a German façade. The German constituencies, though allotted in a proportion unduly favourable, left the Germans, with 233 seats, in a permanent minority as compared with the 259 Slav seats. Even with the addition of the “Latin” (Rumanian and Italian) seats the “German-Latin block” amounted only to 257. This “block” no longer exists in practice, as the Italians now tend to co-operate rather with the Slavs than with the Germans. The greatest gainers by the redistribution were the Ruthenes, whose representation was trebled, though it is still far from being proportioned to their numbers. This and other anomalies will doubtless be corrected in future revisions of the allotment, although the German parties, foreseeing that any revision must work out to their disadvantage, stipulated that a two-thirds majority should be necessary for any alteration of the law.
After unsuccessful attempts by the Upper House to introduce General election 1907. plural voting, the bill became law in January 1907, the peers insisting only upon the establishment of a fixed maximum number or numerus clausus, of non-hereditary peers, so as to prevent the resistance of the Upper Chamber from being overwhelmed at any critical moment by an influx of crown nominees appointed ad hoc. The general election which took place amid considerable enthusiasm on the 14th of May resulted in a sweeping victory for the Social Democrats whose number rose from 11 to 87; in a less complete triumph for the Christian Socialists who increased from 27 to 67; and in the success of the extremer over the conservative elements in all races. A classification of the groups in the new Chamber presents many difficulties, but the following statement is approximately accurate. It must be premised that, in order to render the Christian Socialist or Lueger party the strongest group in parliament, an amalgamation was effected between them and the conservative Catholic party:—
|Pan-German radicals (Wolf group)||13|
|Czech National Socialists||9|
|Of all races||87||87|
|Old or Russophil Ruthenes||5|
|Southern Slav Club—|
|Unclassified, vacancies, &c||6||6|