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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

General Prerogatives and Duties of the Federal Council

General Prerogatives and Duties of the Federal Council.

Art. XII. The prerogatives and duties of the Federal Council within the limits of the present constitution are, among others, the following:—

1. It directs Federal affairs according to the laws and decrees of the Confederation.

2. It gives a watchful care over the due keeping of the Constitution, as well as over the terms of the Federal compacts; it undertakes by its head, on receipt of a complaint, the necessary measures for the due carrying-out of these terms, when the remedy is not of the nature of those which ought to be laid before the Federal tribunal in the tenour of Art. 113.

3. It guards the rights and privileges of the Cantonal Constitutions.

4. It presents drafts of laws and decrees to the Federal Assembly and gives its advice upon the propositions which have been addressed to it by the Councils or by the Cantons.

5. It provides for the execution of the laws and the decrees of the Confederation and of the judgments of the Federal Tribunal as well as of the results of arbitrations in settlement of disputes between the Cantons.

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6. It makes the appointments which are not the prerogative of the Federal Assembly or of the Federal Tribunal or of any other authority.

7. It examines the treaties of the Cantons either between them-selves or with foreign Powers, and it approves them if they are constitutional.

8. It is responsible for the interests of the Confederation outside, notably in the observation of international reports, and it is in general charged with foreign affairs.

9. It is responsible for the external safety of the Swiss, for the maintenance of its independence and its neutrality.

10. It is responsible for the internal well-being of the Confedera-tion, in maintaining tranquillity and order.

11. In case of urgency and when the Federal Assembly is not in session, the Federal Council is authorised to raise the necessary troops and to dispose of them, under the obligation of calling together immediately the Council if the number of the troops raised exceed 2,000 men, or if they remain on foot three weeks.

12. It is charged with the Federal military revenue, as well as all the other branches of the administration which belong to the Confederation.

13. It examines the laws and ordinances of the Cantons, which must be submitted for its approval; it exercises supervision over the branches of the Cantonal administration, which are placed under its control.

14. It administers the finances of the Confederation, submits the Budget, and renders an account of the receipts and expenses.

15. It supervises the conduct of the officials and employés of the Federal Administration.

16. It renders an account of its actions to the Federal Assembly at each ordinary session, presenting to it a report on the situation of the Confederation both home and foreign, and recommends to its attention the measures which it believes useful to the well-being of the commonwealth. It makes also special reports when the Federal Assembly or one of its Chambers demands them.

Art. XIII. The President opens all the documents addressed to the Federal Council, sending them to the respective departments which deals with them, or submits them to the Federal Council and sees that the business is expedited. The President submits every session to the Federal Council a list prepared by the Chancellor of all the Acts promulgated. He decides when the voices are equal—i.e., he has a casting-vote. In elections he votes like the other members.

Art. XIV. The Federal Council can only deliberate when there are at least four members present.

Art. XV. All decisions are taken by the absolute majority of the members present. In order to carry a question there must be a majority of four members at least.

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Art. XVI. No member can absent himself from a sitting of the Council without leave. The President can grant leave for a week; for a longer leave the permission of the Council must be obtained.

Art. XVII. The voting is open on all matters under consideration, with the exception of the elections. In this case the elections are made by ballot. The minutes of the meetings show the members I present or absent. Each member has the right to place on record that he has not voted for a decree passed by the Federal Council, but for another relative proposition on the same subject.

Art. XVIII. When a member of the Council or one of his relations in the prohibited degree has a personal interest in a deliberation this member is obliged to withdraw.

Art. XIX. All the decrees and the decisions emanating front the Federal Council are signed on behalf of the Federal Council by the President of the Federal Council and by the Chancellor, or by those who are acting in their stead.