The Italian Parliament consists of two houses: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic. According to the principle of full bicameralism, the two houses perform identical functions.
Their main function is to make the laws of the country.
By virtue of the vote of confidence, which brings a new Government to life, they establish the political guidelines that the Executive has to follow.
The Government is accountable before Parliament, which takes the Government to account through interrogations and questions.
The election, inauguration and - as the case may be - impeachment of the President of the Republic, in addition to the election of a portion of the justices of the Constitutional Court and the Higher Judicial Council, is conducted by both Houses in a joint sitting.
Both Houses are elected every five years. The only differences between them lie in the membership and the rules for the election of their members. The 400 deputies, who must be at least 25 years of age, and the 200 elected senators, who must be at least 40 years of age, are elected by all Italian citizens over 18 years of age. In addition to elected members, the Senate also includes life senators - who are appointed by the President of the Republic "for outstanding merits in the social, scientific, artistic or literary field" - and the former Presidents of the Republic, who are ex officio life senators.