History of the Federal Council
The first Federal Assembly met in November 1848, elected the first Federal Council and made Bern the federal capital. With the adoption of the Federal Constitution in 1848, Switzerland became a modern federal state. The cantons were now presided over by a federal government and a federal parliament.
The Swiss government is made up of the seven members of the Federal Council. To date, more than 100 federal councillors have governed Switzerland. They are elected or confirmed by parliament for a term of office of four (previously three) years.
It has not always been the case that two or more parties have been represented in the Federal Council. For the first 43 years after the Confederation was first established, the Radicals, the current FDP, governed alone. But other political forces were gradually brought into the government. From 1959 to 2003, the 'magic formula' applied.
Back in 1848, the non-German speaking regions were already represented in the Federal Council by Stefano Franscini und Daniel-Henri Druey. Account has always been taken of linguistic minorities and federalism.
In 1848, parliament elected the seven members of the Federal Council for the first time. Each federal councillor is a member of the government and the head of a department. The number of departments has remained the same to this day. The decisions of government are taken jointly by the members of the Federal Council as a collegial group.
In 1971, women in Switzerland were finally given the vote and women took their seats in parliament for the first time. However, it was 1984 before a woman was elected to the Federal Council for the first time.
Jonas Furrer was elected as the first president of the Swiss Confederation in 1848. Since then, the office of president has passed to a different member of the Federal Council each year. Until 1920, it was also customary for the president to become head of the Political Department, now the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
- In 1981, the Federal Council declared the Swiss Psalm to be the national anthem of the Swiss Confederation. It had been provisionally used as the national anthem since 1961.
- In 1891, the Federal Council declared 1 August to be National Day, inspired by the reputed date of the Rütli Oath and the Federal Charter of 1291. In 1994, 1 August was made a public holiday, after Swiss voters approved a popular initiative calling for this.
Last modification 14.01.2016