New Parline: the IPU’s Open Data Platform (beta)
Your one-stop-shop for information about national parliaments

Switzerland

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Council of States

This is a bicameral parliament. Switch to theNational Council

Oversight

Data on parliament’s oversight role and activities

Oversight tools

Parliament has the power to summon members of the government
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
By virtue of Arts 150, 159 and 160 of the Parliament Act, the members of the Federal Council participate in the deliberations of the committees and the houses when the subject being discussed is part of their remit or if they have been invited to attend in order to provide information.
Parliament has the power to approve key government appointments Key government appointments include, for example, ambassadors or the head of the central bank.
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
Art. 2, para.2, of the Financial Audit Act; Art. 26, para. 1, of the Federal Data Protection Act
Approximate number of government appointments subject to parliamentary approval
2
Number of written questions asked, per year
Not available
See historical data for this field. Compare data of this field.
Number of written questions answered by the government, per year
Not available
See historical data for this field. Compare data of this field.
Parliament has power to carry out inquiries
Yes
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
Federal Constitution, art. 169
Notes
There are no written questions in the Swiss Parliament. Parliamentarians have the opportunity to address the government through various interventions including motions, postulates, interpellation, and questions. Figures reflect the total of all of these interventions between 2013-2017.

Head of State and/or Government

Head of State and/or Government
Parliament’s role in the designation of the Head of Government Some parliaments elect the Head of Government or approve the nomination for the Head of Government. Others do not play a role.
Other (please specify)
Notes
Switzerland does not have a head of government. The Federal Council member serving as President of the Confederation is not considered the Swiss head of State. Rather, the entire Federal Council is considered a collective head of State. The Federal Assembly (the two houses of parliament) elects one of the members of the Federal Council for one year as president of the Confederation. A new president is usually elected every year, on the basis of seniority of the members of the Federal Council. The president of the Confederation is a primus inter pares (first among equals); he directs the meetings of the Federal Council and performs certain representational functions.
Source Legal documents that stipulate parliament's role.
Section 1 du chapitre 3 de la Constitution fédérale suisse. Articles 174 à 177.
Parliament’s role

Impeachment and confidence motions

Procedure for parliament
There is a procedure for parliament to dismiss or impeach the following persons/institution There is a procedure to dismiss or impeach the following persons/institution: Not applicable (there is no procedure); The whole Government; The Head of Government; The Head of State; Individual members of the Executive; Other (please specify)
Not applicable (there is no procedure)
Chambers that play a role in the dismissal or impeachment In bicameral parliaments: Chambers that play a role in the dismissal or impeachment: Lower chamber; Upper chamber; Not applicable
Not applicable
Impeachment Role
There is a procedure for parliament to express no confidence in the following persons/institution There is a procedure for parliament to express no confidence in the following persons/institution: Not applicable (there is no procedure); The whole Government; The Head of Government; Individual members of the Executive; Other (please specify)
Not applicable (there is no procedure)
Chambers that play a role in motions of no confidence In bicameral parliaments: Chambers that play a role in motions of no confidence: Lower chamber; Upper chamber; Not applicable
Not applicable
Parliament is automatically dissolved when a motion of no confidence is adopted In some countries, the adoption of a motion of no confidence in the Government automatically leads to the dissolution of Parliament in certain countries. In other cases, a new government can be formed.
Not applicable