University professor dies at 83: Science and Politics in Styria Wolfgang Mantel

Regarded as one of Austria’s most important constitutional and political scholars, as a Christian-inspired thinker, liberal and cosmopolitan with a baroque attitude, his outward mark was a delightfully inhaled cigar: on a Friday night in Graz, respected scholar Wolfgang Mantel at the age of 84.

Born in Vienna, he was one of the most famous personalities in his field in the German-speaking world and had been teaching and conducting research at the Karl-Franzens University in Graz since 1965. In 1977 he became Extraordinarius’ successor to later President of the Constitutional Court Ludwig Adamovich and finally in 1979 Ordinarius. Until his retirement, he subsequently headed the Department of Political Science and General Political and Constitutional Theory at the University of Graz.

Styrian Ring of Honor by Wolfgang Mantl
© (c) Hunter Images

Among his students were many famous lawyers such as President of the Court of Auditors Margit Kraker, European Court of Justice Judge Andreas Komen, Joseph Marko and Klaus Boyer. The devout Catholic Mantell also made his deep knowledge available for political advice—in the federal government above all to his biographical Federalist brother, Alois Mok, and Erhard Boske, in Styria in particular to Joseph Kreiner II, who was his close friend.

The establishment of Austria’s first state audit office in Styria and the various reform steps in the Styrian state constitution – including the People’s Rights Act – go back to his initiative.

Mantell was also the founding president of the Austrian Science Council and a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In addition to other international universities, he also held a visiting professorship at Lemberg. He was also the author, editor, and co-editor of several standard scholarly works and the recipient of several high awards. In April 2022, Governor Hermann Schutzenhofer was able to give him the Seal of Honor of the State of Styria.

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