The Italian Constitution decrees that sovereignty belongs to the people, i.e. to all Italian citizens, who may exercise that sovereignty in the manner and within the limits defined by the Constitution itself. One of the most important expressions of popular sovereignty is the election of Parliament.
Parliament is composed of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic, which are equal in their functions and powers. For this reason, the Italian Parliament is said to be "bicameral".
Parliament is a central institution in the constitutional system of Italy. Parliament approves legislation, steers and monitors the activities of the Government, enquires into matters of public interest, and grants and revokes confidence in the Government. Sitting in joint session, and with the attendance also of regional delegates, Parliament elects the President of the Republic. Sitting in joint session, Parliament also elects a number of the judges of the Constitutional Court as well as members of the High Council of the Judiciary.
The Constitution states that in order to carry out certain specific functions, the two Houses of Parliament meet as one body (in which case Parliament is said to be meeting in joint session) with the President of the Chamber of Deputies presiding. The functions in question are as follows: