The National Council

The National Council has 183 Members elected for a legislative period of five years. Jointly with the Federal Council it represents the legislative power at federal level.

The Responsibilities of the National Council

The National Council is responsible for proposing, deliberating, and passing laws. As an institution directly elected by the people, it also has important control functions: by addressing specific questions to the Federal Government, the National Council exercises control over it and may even deny the Government, or individual members of it, its confidence and in this way force them to step down.

The Members of the National Council

The principal functions of the 183 Members of the National Council are the introduction, preliminary deliberation and adoption of laws, and the control of the Federal Government. However, Members also see it as their duty to keep in touch with the public in their constituencies and to play an active role in Parliament’s international activities.

A basic principle governing Parliament is the “free mandate“: it means that Members of the National Council are not bound by any directives in the exercise of their duties. 


The Presidents and the President's Conference

At the beginning of a legislative period, the Members of the National Council elect from among them their President as well as the Second and Third Presidents. The President directs the business of the National Council, represents it vis-à-vis the outside world, convenes its sittings and chairs them. In practice, this happens in rotation with the Second and Third Presidents. The Presidents of the National Council and the chairpersons of the Parliamentary Groups form the President’s Conference.

Procedures of the National Council

In this section, you can find information on the processes of the National Council.

Items of Business of a National Council sitting

Items of Business

The National Council Rules of Procedure Act enumerates the various items of business that the National Council has to transact.

Sitting room of the National Council with Metal Eagle

Plenary Sittings

The National Council holds plenary sittings on two or three days each month.

Fragerunde an die Expert:innen. Blick in den Sitzungssaal

National Council Committees

At the beginning of each legislative period, committees are set up to deal with special subject matters.