Call for the Presence of Members of Government (Right of Citation)
The National Council and its committees and sub-committees as well as the Federal Council may, by a majority decision, call for the presence of members of the Federal Government at their deliberations.
Government Members Must Comply with the Demand for their Presence
By implication, this also means that the government member has to respond to questions addressed to him/her by the body requiring his/her presence. This response may, however, consist in stating the reasons why s/he queried refuses to answer the question, a fact that actually applies to all forms of parliamentary questions.
If a member of the Federal Government fails to comply with the call for his/her attendance, the National (but not the Federal) Council may decide to sanction him/her by passing a vote of no confidence.
In practice, the competent Government members will in any case attend deliberations on issues within their remit. They have, however, the right to be represented by their competent State Secretaries.
This holds not only for deliberations on government bills but also for debates on private Members’ or committee motions and other items of business concerning their remit. As a rule, government members will be represented by leading ministerial officers in sittings of the Federal Council committees.
Instead of formally requiring the presence of a government member, Members will frequently request the chairperson to suspend the meeting until said government member arrives.