Resolutions (Right of Resolution)
The National and Federal Councils may express their wishes regarding the exercise of the executive power in the form of resolutions.
The Contents of Resolutions
The contents of and concerns expressed in resolutions vary greatly. As instruments of control they may serve the purpose of causing the Federal Government to evaluate certain areas of administration and present the results to the National Council in the form of a study.
Resolutions may also call for political action that cannot be achieved by legislation – for instance, that the Federal Government take measures to raise public awareness in such fields as health or environmental protection.
Similarly, resolutions may express the wish that the National and/or Federal Councils as well as the Federal Government should commit themselves, both nationally and internationally, to a particular subject such as the control of violence against women or children.
Frequently, resolutions are passed to call on the Federal Government to prepare a bill aiming at resolving a particular problem.
Motions for a Resolution
To pass a resolution the plenary of the National or Federal Councils adopts a motion to that effect (Motion for a Resolution).
Motions for a Resolution in the National Council
In the National Council motions for a resolution may be tabled in the form of private Members’ motions or committee motions. Such motions are referred to a competent committee for preliminary deliberation.
Members of the National Council may also introduce motions for a resolution in the course of a debate on another item of business as long as they are germane to the subject under discussion (“draft resolutions relating to an item of business in hand"). Such motions are put to the vote immediately after the item of business in hand has been debated and voted on.
If five Members demand before entry upon the agenda that an independent motion for a resolution introduced at the same time be discussed immediately, the motion in question will – like an urgent question – be discussed after the agenda has been exhausted but not later than 3 p.m. and not earlier than three hours after entry upon the agenda.
As regards the maximum number of urgent motions that can be introduced by Members or parliamentary groups, urgent motions are counted among the maximum permissible number of urgent questions.
Motions for a Resolution in the Federal Council
In the same way, motions for a resolution may be introduced in the Federal Council in the form of private Members’ motions or draft resolutions relating to an item of business in hand or committee motions. The Rules of Procedure of the Federal Council does not, however, provide for any urgent motions.
Politically, not Legally Binding
While resolutions passed by the National or Federal Council have political weight, there is no legal obligation to implement them. They are seen as recommendations and may, as such, contribute to controlling or correcting the course of action pursued by the government. If the government disregards the resolution, the National (but not the Federal) Council might retaliate by passing a vote of no confidence.