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11 Shortly before 9 am the Federal Councillors arrive, accompanied by their ushers, who lay out the papers for them. A formal affair 09:00 After a few moments of small talk it’s time to get down to business. The meeting commences. The members of the Federal Council now address each other by their official titles, namely ‘Federal Councillor’. This form of address is intended to convey that the views expressed are not aimed at the individual, but are influ- enced by the office they hold. There is a clear seating plan and structure to the meet- ings. The President of the Swiss Confederation speaks first on each item of business. The floor is then given to the head of the lead depart- ment, followed by the Vice President and subsequently to each of the remaining members of goverment. The order in which members speak is based on seniority: senior government members may speak first. The Fed- eral Chancellor may also take the floor. Each member of the Federal Council speaks in his or her first language. The Federal Chancellor will take the floor during this meeting, as the subjects of forthcoming popular votes have to be determined; two popular initiatives are ready to be put to the vote. The Federal Chancellery has the lead on matters concerning democratic rights. Matters of considerable political importance are dis- cussed at the beginning of the meeting, as any differ- ences not resolved in the joint reporting procedure need to be discussed – with the aim of reaching a decision with the broadest possible backing. Political rights The Federal Chancellery organises and prepares all federal votes, provides information and makes sure the results are properly recorded. In the event of complaints, an opinion is submitted to the Federal Supreme Court. All cantonal implementing ordi- nances are examined and prepared for approval, to ensure that despite different regulations, people who move do not suddenly find themselves with two votes or none at all. Another important task of the Federal Chancellery is to organise elections to the National Council. Volksabstimmungen Politische Rechte Themen