Legal Control

A variety of legal control mechanisms ensure that the legal framework is honored.

Impeachment of Ministers

The National Council may bring suit against members of the Federal Government before the Constitutional Court for culpable violations of the law (Art. 142 of the Federal Constitution). A government member may be held accountable for having infringed provisions of the Federal Constitution or of laws in the course of his/her official functions but not for contraventions such as speeding or for failing to honour a private contract.

Stringent Requirements

Decisions to impeach require a higher than usual quorum: more than one half of the total number of Members have to be present, but a simple (“absolute”) majority is sufficient. In the case of minor violations of the law the Constitutional Court may decide to merely acknowledge that the law has been violated.


If the impeached individual is found guilty Art. 142 of the Federal Constitution provides that s/he forfeits his/her office and, in particularly aggravating circumstances, temporarily loses his/her political rights (e.g. the right to vote). In the case of minor infringements the Constitutional Court may confine itself to the statement that the law has been violated.