Constitution of Switzerland
Adopted on: 29 May 1874
Citizenship, Right to Vote
(1) Every citizen of a Canton is a Swiss citizen.
(2) In this capacity, he may take part in all federal elections and votes at his domicile after having duly proved his right to vote.
(3) No one may exercise political rights in more than one Canton.
(4) The established Swiss citizen shall enjoy at his domicile all the rights of the citizens of that Canton and, with these, all the rights of the citizens of that Commune. However, sharing in property belonging in common to local citizens or to corporations and the right to vote in matters exclusively regarding local citizens are excepted unless cantonal legislation should provide otherwise.
National Council Membership
(1) The National Council shall be composed of 200 representatives of the Swiss people.
(2) The seats shall be distributed among the Cantons and Half-Cantons in proportion to their resident population, each Canton and Half-Canton being entitled to one seat at least.
(3) A federal law shall lay down detailed provisions.
National Council Elections
(1) The elections to the National Council shall be direct. They shall take place according to a system of proportional representation, each Canton or Half-Canton forming one electoral district.
(2) Federal legislation shall lay down detailed provisions for the implementation of this principle.
National Council Electorate
(1) Swiss men and women shall have the same rights and the same duties in matters of federal elections and other federal polls.
(2) Each Swiss man and each Swiss woman who has completed his or her 18th year and who has not been deprived of his or her political rights by the legislation of the Confederation or of the Canton where he or she is resident has the right to participate in such elections and other polls.
(3) The Confederation can decree uniform legal provisions on the right to participate in elections and other polls on federal matters.
(4) The right at cantonal level shall remain the affair of cantonal and communal voting and elections.
National Council Eligibility
Every lay Swiss citizen entitled to vote is eligible for membership of the National Council.
National Council Election Period
The National Council shall be elected every four years and each time the whole Council is subject to election.
National Council Incompatibilities
Members of the Council of States and of the Federal Council and officials appointed by the latter may not at the same time be members of the National Council.
Subsection B Council of States
Council of States Membership
The Council of States shall consist of 46 representatives of the Cantons. Each Canton shall elect two representatives; in the halved Cantons, each Half-Canton shall elect one representative.
Council of States Incompatibilities
Members of the National Council and of the Federal Council may not at the same time be members of the Council of States.
Federal Assembly Legislation
(1) Federal laws and federal decrees must be approved by both Councils.
(2) Federal laws and generally binding federal decrees must be submitted to the people for approval or rejection if 50,000 Swiss citizens entitled to vote or eight Cantons so demand.
(3) Paragraph (2) shall be applicable also to international treaties which:
a) are of unspecified duration and cannot be denounced;
b) provide for adherence to an international organization;
c) entail a multilateral unification of the law.
(4) By a decision of both Houses Paragraph (2) shall be applicable to other treaties.
(5) Adherence to collective security organizations or to supranational bodies shall be submitted to the vote of the people and the Cantons.
Federal Assembly Decrees
(1) Generally binding federal decrees whose entry into force ought not to be delayed may be put into effect immediately by a majority of all members of each of the two Councils; the period of validity is to be limited.
(2) If 50,000 Swiss citizens entitled to vote or eight Cantons request a popular vote, the decrees put immediately into effect shall lose their validity one year after their adoption by the Federal Assembly if they have not been approved by the people during that period; in that case, they may not be renewed.
(3) Decrees put immediately into effect which have no constitutional basis must be approved by the people and the Cantons within one year after their adoption by the Federal Assembly; failing this, they shall lose their validity after the lapse or this year and may not be renewed.
Federal Assembly Legislation Formalities
Federal legislation shall lay down the necessary rules concerning the formalities and time-limits for popular votes.
Federal Council Elections
(1) The members of the Federal Council shall be elected by the Federal Assembly for four years from among all the Swiss citizens who are eligible for the National Council. However, not more than one member may be elected from the same Canton.
(2) The Federal Council shall be elected anew after each renewal of the National Council.
(3) Vacancies occurring during the four-year period shall be filled in the following session of the Federal Assembly for the remainder of the term.
Constitutional Total Revision Procedures
(1) If one section of the Federal Assembly decides on a total revision of the Federal Constitution and the other does not consent or if 100,000 Swiss citizens entitled to vote demand the total revision of the Federal Constitution, the question whether such a revision should take place or not must be submitted in both cases to the vote of the Swiss people.
(2) If in either of these cases the majority of the Swiss citizens casting a vote give an affirmative answer, both Councils shall be elected anew in order to undertake the revision.
Constitutional Partial Revision Procedures
(1) Partial revision may be carried out either by means of a popular initiative or in accordance with the forms laid down or federal legislation.
(2) The popular initiative consists of a request, presented by a hundred thousand Swiss citizens entitled to vote, aiming at the introduction, setting aside or modification of specified articles of the Federal Constitution.
(3) If by means of a popular initiative several different provisions are to be modified or introduced into the Federal Constitution, each one must be the subject of a separate initiative request.
(4) An initiative request may consist of a general proposal or take the form of a complete draft.
(5) If such a request consists of a general proposal and if it meets with the approval of the Federal Chambers, the latter shall prepare a partial revision along the lines of the proposal and submit their draft to the people and the Cantons for adoption or rejection. If the Federal Chambers do not approve of the request, the question of partial revision shall be submitted to the decision of the people; if the majority of the Swiss citizens casting a vote decide in the affirmative, the Federal Assembly shall undertake the revision in conformity with the decision of the people.
(6) If the request is in the form of a complete draft and if it meets with the approval of the Federal Assembly, the draft shall be submitted to the people and the Cantons for adoption or rejection. If the Federal Assembly disagrees, it may prepare its own draft or recommend the rejection of the proposed draft and submit its own draft or recommendation of rejection together with the draft proposed by the initiative to the decision of the people and the Cantons.
Constitutional Alternative Revision Procedures
(1) If the Federal Assembly draws up a counter-draft, three questions shall be submitted to the voters on the same ballot paper. Every voter can state unreservedly
1) whether he prefers the popular initiative to the law in force;
2) whether he prefers the counter-draft to the law in force;
3) which of the two texts should enter into force if the people and the Cantons prefer both texts to the law in force.
(2) The absolute majority shall be determined for each question separately. Unanswered questions shall not count.
(3) If both the popular initiative and the counter-draft are accepted, the result of the third question shall decide the issue. The text which obtains more of the people's and Cantons' votes on this question shall come into force. If, on the other hand, one text obtains more of the people's votes and the other more of the Cantons' votes, then neither of the texts shall come into force.
Constitutional Revision Approval
(1) The revised Federal Constitution or the revised part of it, as the case may be, shall enter into force if it has been approved by the majority of the Swiss citizens casting a vote and the majority of the Cantons.
(2) In order to determine the majority of the Cantons, the vote or each Half-Canton is counted as half a vote.
(3) The result of the popular vote in each canton is considered to be the vote of that Canton.