The Federal Authorities
of the Swiss Confederation

101

English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.

Federal Constitution
of the Swiss Confederation

of 18 April 1999 (Status as of 3 March 2013)

Preamble

Title One: General Provisions

Art. 1 The Swiss Confederation

Art. 2 Aims

Art. 3 Cantons

Art. 4 National languages

Art. 5 Rule of law

Art. 5a Subsidiarity

Art. 6 Individual and collective responsibility

Title Two: Fundamental Rights, Citizenship and Social Goals

Chapter One: Fundamental Rights

Art. 7 Human dignity

Art. 8 Equality before the law

Art. 9 Protection against arbitrary conduct and principle of good faith

Art. 10 Right to life and to personal freedom

Art. 11 Protection of children and young people

Art. 12 Right to assistance when in need

Art. 13 Right to privacy

Art. 14 Right to marry and to have a family

Art. 15 Freedom of religion and conscience

Art. 16 Freedom of expression and of information

Art. 17 Freedom of the media

Art. 18 Freedom to use any language

Art. 19 Right to basic education

Art. 20 Academic freedom

Art. 21 Freedom of artistic expression

Art. 22 Freedom of assembly

Art. 23 Freedom of association

Art. 24 Freedom of domicile

Art. 25 Protection against expulsion, extradition and deportation

Art. 26 Guarantee of ownership

Art. 27 Economic freedom

Art. 28 Right to form professional associations

Art. 29 General procedural guarantees

Art. 29a Guarantee of access to the courts

Art. 30 Judicial proceedings

Art. 31 Deprivation of liberty

Art. 32 Criminal proceedings

Art. 33 Right of petition

Art. 34 Political rights

Art. 35 Upholding of fundamental rights

Art. 36 Restrictions on fundamental rights

Chapter 2: Citizenship and Political Rights

Art. 37 Citizenship

Art. 38 Acquisition and deprivation of citizenship

Art. 39 Exercise of political rights

Art. 40 The Swiss abroad

Chapter 3: Social Objectives

Art. 41

3rd Title: Confederation, Cantons and Communes

Chapter 1: Relations between the Confederation and the Cantons

Section 3: Communes

Art. 50

Chapter 2: Powers

Section 8: Housing, Employment, Social Security and Health

Art. 108 Construction of housing and home ownership

Art. 109 Landlord and tenant

Art. 110 Employment*

Art. 111 Old-age, survivors’ and invalidity pension provision

Art. 112 Old-age, Survivors’ and Invalidity Insurance*

Art. 112a Supplementary benefits

Art. 112b Promoting the rehabilitation of people eligible for invalidity benefits*

Art. 112c Aid for elderly people and people with disabilities*

Art. 113 Occupational pension scheme*

Art. 114 Unemployment insurance

Art. 115 Support for persons in need

Art. 116 Child allowances and maternity insurance

Art. 117 Health and accident insurance

Art. 118 Health protection

Art. 118a Complementary medicine

Art. 118b Research on human beings

Art. 119 Reproductive medicine and gene technology involving human beings

Art. 119a Transplant medicine

Art. 120 Non-human gene technology*

Section 9: Residence and Permanent Settlement of Foreign Nationals

Art. 121

Chapter 3: Financial System

Art. 126 Financial management

Art. 127 Principles of taxation

Art. 128 Direct taxes*

Art. 129 Tax harmonisation

Art. 130 Value added tax*

Art. 131 Special consumption taxes*

Art. 132 Stamp duty and withholding tax*

Art. 133 Customs duties

Art. 134 Exclusion of cantonal and communal taxation

Art. 135 Equalisation of financial resources and burdens

Title 4: The People and the Cantons

Chapter 1: General Provisions

Art. 136 Political rights

Art. 137 Political parties

Chapter 2: Initiative and Referendum

Art. 138 Popular initiative requesting the complete revision of the Federal Constitution

Art. 139 Popular initiative requesting a partial revision of the Federal Constitution in specific terms

Art. 139a

Art. 139b Procedure applicable to an initiative and counter-proposal

Art. 140 Mandatory referendum

Art. 141 Optional referendum

Art. 141a Implementation of international treaties

Art. 142 Required majorities

Title 5: Federal Authorities

Chapter 1: General Provisions

Art. 143 Eligibility for election

Art. 144 Incompatibility

Art. 145 Term of office

Art. 146 State liability

Art. 147 Consultation procedure

Chapter 2: Federal Assembly

Chapter 3: Federal Council and Federal Administration

Chapter 4: 1 Federal Supreme Court and other Judicial Authorities

Art. 188 Status

Art. 189 Jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court

Art. 190 Applicable law

Art. 191 Access to the Federal Supreme Court

Art. 191a Other federal judicial authorities

Art. 191b Cantonal judicial authorities

Art. 191c Independence of the judiciary

Title 6: Revision of the Federal Constitution and Transitional Provisions

Chapter 1: Revision

Art. 192 Principle

Art. 193 Total revision

Art. 194 Partial revision

Art. 195 Commencement

Chapter 2: Transitional Provisions

Art. 196 Transitional provisions in terms of the Federal Decree of 18 December 1998 on a new Federal Constitution

Art. 197 Transitional provisions following the adoption of the Federal Constitution of 18 April 1999

Commencement Date: 1 January 20002

Final Provisions of the Federal Decree of 18 December 1998

II

1 The Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of 29 May 18743 is repealed.

2 The following provisions of the Federal Constitution, which must be re-enacted as statute law, continue to apply until the corresponding statutory provisions come into force:

a. Art. 32quater para. 64

Hawking and other forms of itinerant sale of spirits are prohibited.

b. Art. 36quinquies para. 1 first sentence, 2 second–last sentence and 4 second sentence5

1 For the use of first and second class motorways, the Confederation shall levy an annual charge of 40 francs on each Swiss and foreign motor vehicle and trailer with a total weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes. ...

2 ... The Federal Council may exempt specific vehicles from the charge and issue special regulations, in particular for journeys made in border areas. Such regulations must not result in vehicles registered abroad being treated more favourably than Swiss vehicles. The Federal Council may impose fines for contraventions of the regulations. The Cantons shall collect the charge for vehicles registered in Switzerland and monitor compliance of all vehicles with the regulations.

4 ... The charge may be extended by federal act to further categories of vehicle that are not liable to pay the heavy vehicle charge.

c. Art. 121bis para. 1, 2 and para. 3 first and second sentence6

1 If the Federal Assembly decides to submit a counter-proposal, voters shall be asked three questions on the same ballot paper. Each voter has the unrestricted right to state:

1.
whether he or she prefers the popular initiative to the existing law;
2.
whether he or she prefers the counter-proposal to the existing law;
3.
which of the two proposals should come into force in the event that the People and the Cantons prefer both proposals to the existing law.

2 The absolute majority shall be calculated separately for each question. Unanswered questions shall not be taken into consideration.

3 If both the popular initiative and the counter-proposal are accepted, the result of the third question shall be decisive. The proposal that receives the greater number of votes from the People and from the Cantons on this question shall come into force. ...

III

The Federal Assembly shall adapt amendments to the Federal Constitution of 29 May 1874 to the new Federal Constitution as regards their form. The decree issued to this effect shall not be subject to a referendum.

IV

1 This Decree must be submitted to a vote of the People and the Cantons.

2 The Federal Assembly shall determine its commencement date.

Contents

Preamble

The Swiss Confederation Art. 1

Aims Art. 2

Cantons Art. 3

National languages Art. 4

Rule of law Art. 5

Subsidiarity Art. 5a

Individual and collective responsibility Art. 6

Human dignity Art. 7

Equality before the law Art. 8

Protection against arbitrary conduct and principle of good faith Art. 9

Right to life and to personal freedom Art. 10

Protection of children and young people Art. 11

Right to assistance when in need Art. 12

Right to privacy Art. 13

Right to marry and to have a family Art. 14

Freedom of religion and conscience Art. 15

Freedom of expression and of information Art. 16

Freedom of the media Art. 17

Freedom to use any language Art. 18

Right to basic education Art. 19

Academic freedom Art. 20

Freedom of artistic expression Art. 21

Freedom of assembly Art. 22

Freedom of association Art. 23

Freedom of domicile Art. 24

Protection against expulsion, extradition and deportation Art. 25

Guarantee of ownership Art. 26

Economic freedom Art. 27

Right to form professional associations Art. 28

General procedural guarantees Art. 29

Guarantee of access to the courts Art. 29a

Judicial proceedings Art. 30

Deprivation of liberty Art. 31

Criminal proceedings Art. 32

Right of petition Art. 33

Political rights Art. 34

Upholding of fundamental rights Art. 35

Restrictions on fundamental rights Art. 36

Citizenship Art. 37

Acquisition and deprivation of citizenship Art. 38

Exercise of political rights Art. 39

The Swiss abroad Art. 40

Art. 41

Duties of the Confederation Art. 42

Duties of the Cantons Art. 43

Principles for the allocation and fulfilment of state tasks Art. 43a

Principles Art. 44

Participation in federal decision-making Art. 45

Implementation of federal law Art. 46

Autonomy of the Cantons Art. 47

Intercantonal agreements Art. 48

Declaration of general application and requirement of participation Art. 48a

Precedence of and compliance with federal law Art. 49

Art. 50

Cantonal constitutions Art. 51

Constitutional order Art. 52

Number and territory of the Cantons Art. 53

Foreign relations Art. 54

Participation of the Cantons in foreign policy decisions Art. 55

Relations between the Cantons and foreign states Art. 56

Security Art. 57

Armed forces Art. 58

Military service and alternative service Art. 59

Armed forces organisation, training and equipment Art. 60

Civil defence Art. 61

Swiss Education Area Art. 61a

School education Art. 62

Vocational and professional education and training Art. 63

Higher education institutions Art. 63a

Research Art. 64

Continuing education and training Art. 64a

Statistics Art. 65

Education grants Art. 66

Encouragement of children and young people Art. 67

Sport Art. 68

Culture Art. 69

Languages Art. 70

Cinema Art. 71

Church and state Art. 72

Sustainable development Art. 73

Protection of the environment Art. 74

Spatial planning Art. 75

National Land Survey Art. 75a

Second homes Art. 75b

Water Art. 76

Forests Art. 77

Protection of natural and cultural heritage Art. 78

Fishing and hunting Art. 79

Protection of animals Art. 80

Public Construction Works Art. 81

Road transport Art. 82

National roads Art. 83

Alpine transit traffic Art. 84

Heavy vehicle charge Art. 85

Consumption tax on motor fuels and other traffic taxes Art. 86

Railways and other modes of transport Art. 87

Footpaths and hiking trails Art. 88

Energy policy Art. 89

Nuclear energy Art. 90

Transport of energy Art. 91

Postal and telecommunications services Art. 92

Radio and television Art. 93

Principles of the economic system Art. 94

Professional activities in the private sector Art. 95

Competition policy Art. 96

Consumer protection Art. 97

Banks and insurance companies Art. 98

Monetary policy Art. 99

Economic policy Art. 100

Foreign economic policy Art. 101

National economic supply Art. 102

Structural policy Art. 103

Agriculture Art. 104

Alcohol Art. 105

Gambling Art. 106

Weapons and war material Art. 107

Construction of housing and home ownership Art. 108

Landlord and tenant Art. 109

Employment Art. 110

Old-age, survivors’ and invalidity pension provision Art. 111

Old-age, Survivors’ and Invalidity Insurance Art. 112

Supplementary benefits Art. 112a

Promoting the rehabilitation of people eligible for invalidity benefits Art. 112b

Aid for elderly people and people with disabilities Art. 112c

Occupational pension scheme Art. 113

Unemployment insurance Art. 114

Support for persons in need Art. 115

Child allowances and maternity insurance Art. 116

Health and accident insurance Art. 117

Health protection Art. 118

Complementary medicine Art. 118a

Research on human beings Art. 118b

Reproductive medicine and gene technology involving human beings Art. 119

Transplant medicine Art. 119a

Non-human gene technology* Art. 120

Art. 121

Civil law Art. 122

Criminal law Art. 123

Art. 123a

No time limit for the right to prosecute or for penalties for sexual or pornography offences involving prepubescent children Art. 123b

Victim support Art. 124

Weights and measures Art. 125

Financial management Art. 126

Principles of taxation Art. 127

Direct taxes Art. 128

Tax harmonisation Art. 129

Value added tax* Art. 130

Special consumption taxes Art. 131

Stamp duty and withholding tax Art. 132

Customs duties Art. 133

Exclusion of cantonal and communal taxation Art. 134

Equalisation of financial resources and burdens Art. 135

Political rights Art. 136

Political parties Art. 137

Popular initiative requesting the complete revision of the Federal Constitution Art. 138

Popular initiative requesting a partial revision of the Federal Constitution in specific terms Art. 139

Art. 139a

Procedure applicable to an initiative and counter-proposal Art. 139b

Mandatory referendum Art. 140

Optional referendum Art. 141

Implementation of international treaties Art. 141a

Required majorities Art. 142

Eligibility for election Art. 143

Incompatibility Art. 144

Term of office Art. 145

State liability Art. 146

Consultation procedure Art. 147

Status Art. 148

Composition and election of the National Council Art. 149

Composition and election of the Council of States Art. 150

Sessions Art. 151

Presidency Art. 152

Parliamentary committees Art. 153

Parliamentary groups Art. 154

Parliamentary Services Art. 155

Separate proceedings Art. 156

Joint proceedings Art. 157

Public meetings Art. 158

Quorum and required majority Art. 159

Right to submit initiatives and motions Art. 160

Prohibition of voting instructions Art. 161

Immunity Art. 162

Form of Federal Assembly enactments Art. 163

Legislation Art. 164

Emergency legislation Art. 165

Foreign relations and international treaties Art. 166

Finance Art. 167

Appointments Art. 168

Supervisory control Art. 169

Evaluation of effectiveness Art. 170

Tasks of the Federal Council Art. 171

Relations between the Confederation and the Cantons Art. 172

Further duties and powers Art. 173

Federal Council Art. 174

Composition and election Art. 175

Presidency Art. 176

Principle of collegiality and allocation to departments Art. 177

Federal Administration Art. 178

Federal Chancellery Art. 179

Government policy Art. 180

Right to initiate legislation Art. 181

Lawmaking and implementation of legislation Art. 182

Finances Art. 183

Foreign relations Art. 184

External and internal security Art. 185

Relations between the Confederation and the Cantons Art. 186

Further duties and powers Art. 187

Status Art. 188

Jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court Art. 189

Applicable law Art. 190

Access to the Federal Supreme Court Art. 191

Other federal judicial authorities Art. 191a

Cantonal judicial authorities Art. 191b

Independence of the judiciary Art. 191c

Principle Art. 192

Total revision Art. 193

Partial revision Art. 194

Commencement Art. 195

Transitional provisions in terms of the Federal Decree of 18 December 1998 on a new Federal Constitution Art. 196

Transitional provisions following the adoption of the Federal Constitution of 18 April 1999 Art. 197


 AS 2007 5225


1 Adopted by the popular vote on 12 March 2000, in force since 1 Jan. 2007 (Federal Decree of 8 Oct. 1999, Federal Council Decree of 17 May 2000, Federal Decree of 8 March 2005 – AS 2002 3148, 2006 1059; BBl 1997 I 1, 1999 8633, 2000 2990, 2001 4202).
2 Federal Decree of 28 Sept. 1999 (AS 1999 2555; BBl 1999 7922)
3 [BS 1 3; AS 1949 1511, 1951 606, 1957 1027, 1958 362 768 770, 1959 224 912, 1961 476, 1962 749 1637 1804, 1964 97, 1966 1672, 1969 1249, 1970 1649, 1971 325 905 907, 1972 1481 1484, 1973 429 1051 1455, 1974 721, 1975 1205, 1976 713 715 2003, 1977 807 1849 2228 2230, 1978 212 484 1578, 1979 678, 1980 380, 1981 1243 1244, 1982 138, 1983 240 444, 1984 290, 1985 150, 151 658 659 1025 1026 1648, 1987 282 1125, 1988 352, 1991 246 247 1122, 1992 1578 1579, 1993 3040 3041, 1994 258 263 265 267 1096 1097 1099 1101, 1995 1455, 1996 1490 1491 1492 2502, 1998 918 2031, 1999 741 743 1239 1341]
4 Art. 105
5 Art. 86 para. 2
6 See now: Art. 139b

English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.

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