The Federal Assembly has the power to enact legislation subject to the limits imposed on the Confederation in the Federal Constitution. The scope of its tasks is clearly set out in the Federal Constitution. It can also propose a constitutional amendment to the people and the cantons (just as the people can bring a popular initiative). It adopts federal decrees and ratifies international treaties. All these activities are subject to a compulsory or optional referendum.
The two chambers of the Parliament sit together to form the United Federal Assembly when electing the seven members of the Federal Council, the Federal Chancellor and federal court judges. Each year during the winter session, the members of parliament elect the president and the vice president from among the seven members of the Federal Council. In the case of a military threat, the Federal Assembly also has the task of electing a general as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
The Federal Assembly determines the areas in which the Federal Council, and consequently the Federal Administration, carries out its activities and is responsible for overseeing these activities. The Federal Assembly’s oversight also covers the activities of the federal courts and other bodies that are assigned federal tasks.
Il Consiglio nazionale e il Consiglio degli Stati trattano gli stessi oggetti e hanno gli stessi poteri. Alcune decisioni (p.es. le elezioni) sono prese dal parlamento a Camere riunite (Assemblea federale). Ma per la maggioranza delle decisioni le due Camere del parlamento deliberano separatamente. Se non giungono alle stesse conclusioni, fanno ricorso a una procedura speciale, denominata di appianamento delle divergenze.
As a general rule, the Federal Council submits a bill to Parliament, which then adopts, rejects or amends the bill.
Council members, however, also have instruments to present their ideas, including initiatives, motions, postulates, interpellations and questions