The Federal Assembly
The two legislative bodies – the National and Federal Councils – form separate entities, but their Members jointly form a third parliamentary body, the Federal Assembly.
Responsibilities of the Federal Assembly
Under the Federal Constitutional Law the Federal Assembly has five functions, which for the most part refer to the office of the Federal President:
- The Federal Assembly inaugurates the Federal President, who is directly elected by popular vote;
- It may, at the request of the National Council, decide to hold a referendum on the deposition of the Federal President;
- It decides, also at the request of the National Council, whether the Federal President should be prosecuted for a specific action
- or impeached for a violation of the Federal Constitution before the Constitutional Court.
- The Federal Assembly is also responsible for declaring war.
Sittings of the Federal Assembly are open to the public. In view of the limited number of seats available reservations have to be made beforehand. The President of the National Council and the President of the Federal Council take turns in chairing the sittings. For the deliberations the Rules of Procedure of the National Council apply mutatis mutandis.