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Bundesrat (Federal Council)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Presidency module

Parliament name (generic / translated) Parlament / Parliament
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Bundesrat / Federal Council
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Nationalrat / National Council
Title President of the Federal Council
Term - Duration: 6 months.
The presidency of the Federal Council rotates among the provinces every six months, with the provinces taking turns in alphabetical order.
- Reasons for interruption of the term: resignation, loss of mandate as a member of the Chamber, appointment to another office or position, conviction for illegal activities.
- The President cannot be removed by members of the Chamber before the end of his/her mandate.
- The President's role between dissolution and election: not applicable (There is no legislative period at the Federal Council and its session has been uninterrupted since 1945).
Appointment - The office of President goes to the Federal Council member who is ranked first on the list established by his/her Federal Province.
Eligibility - Only members of the Chamber are eligible
- The President's post is incompatible with those of the Vice-President of the Federal Council and the Federal President.
- Former Federal Council Presidents may seek re-election.
Voting system Not applicable: The President is elected by the Provincial Diet holding the presidency of the Federal Council.
Procedures / results Not applicable: The President is elected by the Provincial Diet holding the presidency of the Federal Council.
Status - The President of the Federal Council holds the seventh highest office in the State after the Federal President, the Chancellor, the Speaker of the National Council, the Vice-Chancellor, former Federal Presidents (who all rank fifth), Federal Ministers and the President of the Constitutional Court (who rank sixth).
- The Speaker of the Lower Chamber (National Council) ranks higher in the hierarchy of the State than the President of the Upper Chamber.
- Although the National Council and the Federal Council are separate bodies, their members form a third parliamentary body called the Federal Assembly. The Speaker of the National Council and the President of the Federal Council preside over the Federal Assembly alternately.
- The President of the Federal Council may not act as Head of State.
- In the absence of the President of the Federal Council, the Vice-President assumes his/her roles and duties.
Board - The President of the Federal Council is assisted by the Conference of Presidents.
- The Conference of Presidents is an advisory body.
- The Conference of Presidents consists of the President and the Vice-President of the Federal Council and the chairpersons of all parliamentary groups, including opposition groups. They automatically become members by virtue of their function in the Federal Council.
- The term of the members of the Conference of Presidents varies, depending on their function.
Material facilities - A special allowance of a maximum of 8,000 euros per month.
- An official car
- Four additional staff members
Organization of parliamentary business The Speaker may:
- convene sessions,
- establish and modify the agenda, i.e. the programme and schedule of work,
- organize the debates and set speaking times,
- refer a text to a committee for study in agreement with the chairpersons of the parliamentary groups (i.e. members of the Conference of Presidents),
- group amendments for debate and voting purposes.
Chairing of public sittings The Speaker may:
- open, adjourn and close sittings,
- interpret the rules or other regulations governing the functioning of the Chamber,
- ensure respect for provisions of the Constitution and the Standing Orders,
- make announcements concerning the Chamber,
- take disciplinary measures in the event of a disturbance and lift such measures,
- establish the list of speakers,
- give and withdraw permission to speak,
- select which amendments are to be debated,
- establish the order in which amendments are taken up,
- call for a vote,
- decide how a vote will be carried out,
- verify the voting procedure,
- check the quorum,
- repeat a vote in the event of irregularities,
- authenticate the adopted texts and the records of debates,
- give the floor outside the agenda and thus organize impromptu debates,
- decide on the proposal of the declassification or re-classification of information,
- following consultations with the respective Conference of Presidents , decide on access to classified information by employees of the Parliamentary Administration,
- participate in enacting supplementary provisions in terms of the Information Rules Act.
Special powers The Speaker may:
- propose the Chamber's budget,
- recruit, assign and promote staff,
- be responsible for safety and discipline in the Chamber and may call in the police in the event of a dispute in the Chamber.

The Conference of Presidents may:
- participate in proposing the Chamber's budget.
- participate in the declassification or re-classification of information forwarded to both the National and the Federal Council.
Speaking and voting rights, other functions The Speaker may:
- take the floor in legislative debates,
- take part in voting.

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