The two houses of parliament meet jointly as the
Bundesversammlung (Federal Assembly) to witness the swearing in
of the president, to bring charges against him, or to declare
war. Usually, the Bundesversammlung is convoked by the president.
If charges are brought against the president, the chancellor
convokes the Bundesversammlung. Meetings are chaired alternately
by the president of the Nationalrat and the chairman of the
Bundesrat. If the Bundesversammlung passes a resolution, its
validity must be attested to by the chairman. The chancellor then
countersigns and publishes the resolution.
The judicial system is independent of the executive and
legislative branches. The constitution establishes that judges
are independent when acting in their judicial function. They
cannot be bound by instructions from a higher court (except in
cases of appeal) or by another agency. In administrative matters,
judges are subordinate to the Ministry for Justice. A judge can
be transferred or dismissed only for specific reasons established
by law and only after formal court action has been taken. The
Austrian judiciary functions only at the federal level, and thus
there is no separate court system at the provincial level.
Data as of December 1993