Swiss Political System – Facts and Figures

Federalism and direct democracy reflect the great importance that the Swiss political system places on the freedom of choice and self-determination. The capital city of Switzerland is Bern.

Federal Square with the fountain in front of Federal Palace in Bern
“Bundesplatz” (Federal Square) in Bern © The Swiss Parliament

  • Three political levels share power in Switzerland: the Confederation, the 26 cantons and over 2,250 communes.
  • The Swiss federal government, (the Federal Council), is made up of seven members, who are elected by parliament.
  • The Swiss parliament, or (Federal Assembly), has a total of 246 members, who are directly elected by the people. Switzerland has a bicameral parliament: the National Council (200 members) and the Council of States (46 members).
  • 15 political parties are represented in the Swiss parliament. Those parties with the largest share of the popular vote are represented on the Federal Council.
  • Some 5.3 million citizens, roughly 63% of the total population, are eligible to vote at federal level. This right is granted to all Swiss nationals on reaching the age of majority (18 in Switzerland).