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The rise of the Swiss republic: A history online

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territory foreigners who endanger the internal or external
safety of Switzerland.



chapter II. federal authorities.

I. federal assembly.

\AssembUe f^iUraU ; Bundesversammlung,^

Art. 71. With the reservation of the rights of the people
and of the Cantons (Articles 89 and 121), the supreme authw-



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CONSTITUTION OF SWISS CONFEDERATION 381

ity of the Confederation is exercised by the Federal Assembly
which consists of two sections or councils, to wit :

(A) The National Council.

(B) The Council of States.

A. NATIONAL COUNCIL.

\Conseil National ; Nationalrath,^

Art. 72. The National Council is composed of representa-
tives of the Swiss people, chosen in the ratio pf one member
for each 20,000 persons of the total population. Fractions of
upwards of 10,000 persons are reckoned as 20,000.

Every Canton, and in the divided Cantons every Half-
Canton, chooses at least one representative.

Art. 73. The elections for the National Council are direct
They are held in federal electoral districts, which in no case
shall be formed out of parts of different Cantons.

Art. 74. Every Swiss who has completed twenty years of
age, and who in addition is not excluded from the rights of a
voter by the legislation of the Canton in which be is domiciled,
has the right to vote in elections and popular votes.

Nevertheless, the Confederation by law may establish uni-
form regulations for the exercise of such right.

Art. 75. Every lay Swiss citizen who has the right to vote
is eligible for membership in the National Council.

Art. ^6. The National Council is chosen for three years,
and entirely renewed at each general election.

Art. TT, Representatives to the Council of States, mem-
bers of the Federal Council, and officials appointed by that
Council, shall not at the same time be members of the National
Council.

Art. 78. The National Council chooses out of its own
number, for each regular or extraordinary session, a President
and a Vice-President.

A member who has held the office of President during a



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382 THE RISE OF THE SWISS REPUBLIC.

regular session is ineligible either as President or as Vice-
President at the next regular session.

. The same member may not be Vice-President during two
consecutive regular sessions.

When the votes are equally divided the President has a
casting vote ; in elections he votes in the same manner as other
members.

Art. 79. The members of the National Council receive a
compensation out of the federal treasury.

B. COUNCIL OF STATES.

[Coftseil des Etats ; StanderatA.]

Art. 80. The Council of States consists of forty-four rep-
resentatives of the Cantons. Each Canton appoints two rep-
resentatives ; in the divided Cantons, each Half-Canton chooses
one.

Art. 81. The members of the National Council and those
of the Federal Council may not be representatives in the
Council of States.

Art. 82. The Council of States chooses out of its own
number for each regular or extraordinary session a President
and a Vice-President.

Neither the President nor the Vice-President can be chosen
from among the representatives of the Canton from which the
President has been chosen for the regular session next
preceding.

Representatives of the same Canton cannot occupy the posi-
tion of Vice-President during two consecutive regular sessions.

When the votes are equally divided the President has a
casting vote ; in elections he votes in the same manner as the
other members.

Art. 83. Representatives in the Council of States receive
a compensation from the Cantons.



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CONSTITUTION OF SWISS CONFEDERATION 383

C. POWERS OF THE FEDERAL ASSEMBLY.

Art. 84. The National Council and the Council of States
consider all the subjects which the present Constitution places
within the competence of the Confederation, and which are
not assigned to any other federal authority.

Art. 85. The subjects within the competence of the two
Councils are particularly the following :

1. Laws on the organization of and election of federal
authorities.

2. Laws and ordinances on subjects which by the Con-
stitution are placed within the federal competence.

3. The salary and compensation of members of the fed-
eral governing bodies and of the Federal Chancery; the
creation of federal offices and the determination of salaries
therefor.

4. The election of the Federal Council, of the Federal
Court, and of the Chancellor, and also of the Commander-in-
Chief of the federal army.

The Confederation may by law assign to the Federal
Assembly other powers of election or of confirmation.

5. Alliances and treaties with foreign powers, and also
the approval of treaties made by the Cantons between them-
selves or with foreign powers ; nevertheless the treaties made
by the Cantons shall be brought before the Federal Assembly
only in case the Federal Council or another Canton protests.

6. Measures for external safety and also for the mainte-
nance of the independence and neutrality of Switzerland ; the
declaration of war and the conclusion of peace.

7. The guaranty of the Constitution and of the territory
of the Cantons; intervention in consequence of such guar-
anty ; measures for the internal safety of Switzerland, for the
maintenance of peace and order ; amnesty and pardon.

8. Measures for the preservation of the Constitution,
for carrying out the guaranty of the cantonal constitutions,
and for fulfilling federal obligations.



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384 THE RISE OF THE SWISS REPUBLIC.

9. The power of controlling the federal army.

10. The determination of the annual budget, the audit
of public accounts, and federal ordinances authorizing loans.

11. The superintendence of federal administration and
of federal courts.

12. Protests against the decisions of the Federal Coun-
cil upon administrative conflicts. (Art. 113.)

13. Conflicts of jurisdiction between federal authorities.

14. The amendment of the federal Constitution.

Art. 86. The two Councils assemble annually in regular
session upon a day to be fixed by the standing orders.

They are convened in extra .session by the Federal Council
upon the request either of one fourth of the members of the
National Council, or of five Cantons.

Art. 87. In either Council a quorum is a majority of the
total number of its members.

Art. 88. In the National Council and in the Council of
States a majority of those voting is required.

Art. 89. Federal laws, enactments, and resolutions shall
be passed only by the agreement of the two Councils.

Federal laws shall be submitted for acceptance or rejection
by the people, if the demand is made by 30,000 voters or by
eight Cantons. The same principle applies to federal resolu-
tions which have a general application, and which are not of
an urgent nature.

Art. 90. The Confederation shall by law establish the
forms and intervals to be observed in popular votes.

Art. 91. Members of either Council vote without in-
structions.

Art. 92. Each Council takes action separately. But in
the case of the elections specified in Article 8$, § 4, of par-
dons, or of deciding a conflict of jurisdiction (Art. 8$, § 13),
the two Councils meet in joint session, under the direction of
the President of the National Council, and a decision is made
by the majority of the members of both Councils present and
voting.



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CONSTITUTION OF SWISS CONFEDERATION. 385

Art. 93. Measures may originate in either Council, and
may be introduced by any of their members.

The Cantons may by correspondence exercise the samo
right.

Art. 94. As a rule, the sittings of the Councils are public

II. FEDERAL COUNCIL.

[Consetl //{Ural ; BundesrathJ]

Art. 95. The supreme direction and executive authority
of the Confederation is exercised by a Federal Council, com-
posed of seven members.

Art. 96. The members of the Federal Council are chosen
for three years by the Councils in joint session from among all
the Swiss citizens eligible to the National Council. But not
more than one member of the Federal Council shall be chosen
from the same Canton.

The Federal Council is chosen anew after each election of
the National Council.

Vacancies which occur in the course of the three years are
filled at the first ensuing session of the Federal Assembly, for
the remainder of the term of office.

Art. 97. The members of the Federal Council shall not,
during their term of office, occupy any other office, either in
the service of the Confederation or in a Canton, or follow any
other pursuit, or exercise a profession.

Art. 98. The Federal Council is presided over by the
President of the Confederation. There is a Vice-President.

The President of the Confederation and the Vice-President
of the Federal Council are chosen for one year by the Federal
Assembly from among the members of the Council.

The retiring President shall not be chosen as President or
Vice-President for the year ensuing.

The same member shall not hold the office of Vice-Presi-
dent during two consecutive years.



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386 THE RISE OF THE SWISS REPUBLIC,

Art. 99. The President of the Confederation and the
other members of the Federal Council receive an annual salary
from the federal treasury.

Art. 100. A quorum of the Federal Council consists of
four tnembers.

Art. ioi. The members of the Federal Council have the
right to speak but not to vote in either house of the Federal
Assembly, and also the right to make motions on the subject
under consideration.

Art. 102. The powers and the duties of the Federal
Council, Within the limits of this Constitution, are particularly
the following :

1. It conducts federal affairs, conformably to the laws
and resolutions of the Confederation.

2. It takes care that the Constitution, federal laws and
ordinances, and also the provisions of federal concordats, be
observed ; upon its own initiative or upon complaint, it takes
measures necessary to cause these instruments to be observed,
unless the consideration of redress be among the subjects
which should be brought before the Federal Court, according
to Article 113.

3. It takes care that the guaranty of the cantonal consti-
tutions be observed.

4. It introduces bills or resolutions into the Federal
Assembly, and gives its opinion upon the proposals submitted
to it by the Councils or the Cantons.

5. It executes the laws and resolutions of the Confeder-
ation and the judgments of the Federal Court, and also the
compromises or decisions in arbitration upon disputes
between Cantons.

6. It makes those appointments which are not assigp^ed
to the Federal Assembly, Federal Court, or other authority.

7. It examines the treaties made by Cantons with each
other, or with foreign powers, and approves them, if proper.
(Art. 85, § 5)

8. It watches over the external interests of the Confed-



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CONSTITUTION OF SWISS CONFEDERATION. 387

eration, particularly the maintenance of its international
relations, and is, in general, intrusted with foreign relations.

9. It watches over the external saf^y of Switzerland,
over the maintenance of independence and neotrality.

10. It watches over the internal safety of the Confedera-
tion, over the maintenance of peace and order.

11. In cases of urgency, and when the Federal As-
sembly is not in session, the Federal Council has power to
raise the necessary troops and to employ them, with the reser-
vation that it shall immediately summon the Councils if the
number of troops exceed two thousand men, or if they remain
in arms more than three weeks.

12. It administers the military establishment of the Con-
federation, and all other branches of administration committed
to the Confederation.

13. It examines such laws and ordinances of the Cantons
as must be submitted for its approval ; it exercises supervision
over such departments of the cantonal administration as are
placed under its control.

14. It administers the finances of the Confederation,
introduces the budget, and submits accounts of receipts and
expenses.

15. It supervises the conduct of all the officials and
employees of the federal administration.

16. It submits to the Federal Assembly at each regular
session an account of its administration and a report of the
condition of the Confederation, internal as well as external,
and calls attention to the measures which it deems desirable
for the promotion of the general welfare.

It also makes special reports when the Federal Assembly or
either Council requires it.

Art. 103. The business of the Federal Council is distribu-
ted by departments among its members. This distribution has
the purpose only of facilitating the examination and despatch
of business ; decisions emanate ftom the Federal Council as a
single authority.



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388 THE RISE OF THE SWISS REPUBLIC.

Art. 104. The Federal Council and its departments have
power to call in experts on special subjects.

III. FEDERAL CHANCERY.

\Chancellerie fid^rale ; Bundeskanzlei,^

Art. 105. A Federal Chancery, at the head of which is
placed the Chancellor of the Confederation, conducts the secre-
tary's business for the Federal Assembly and the Federal
Council.

The Chancellor is chosen by the Federal Assembly for the
term of three years, at the same time as the Federal Council.

The Chancery is under the special supervision of the Fed-
eral Council.

A federal law shall provide for the organization of the
Chancery.

IV. FEDERAL COURT.

[ Tribunal fid^ral; Bundesgericht, ]

Art. 106. There shall be a Federal Court for the admin-
istration of justice in federal concerns.

There shall be, moreover, a jury for criminal cases. (Art.

1X2.)

Art. 107. The members and alternates of the Federal
Court shall be chpsen by the Federal Assembly, which shall
take care that all three national languages are represented
therein.

A law shall establish the organization of the Federal Court
and qf its;^ections, the number of judges and alternates, their
term of office, and their salary.

Art. 108., Any Swiss citizen eligible to. National Council
may be chosen to the Fedeml Court.

The members of the Federal Assembly and of the Federal



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CONSTITUTION OF SWISS CONFEDERATION. 389

Council; and ofBcials appointed l>y those authorities, shall not
at the same time belong to the Federal Court.

The members of the Federal Court shall not, during their
term of office, occupy any other office, either in the service of
the Confederation or in a Canton, nor engage in any other pur-
suit, nor practice a profession.

Art. 109. The Federal Court organizes its own Chancery
and appoints the officials thereof.

Art. 1 10. The Federal Court has jurisdiction in civil suits :

1. Between the Confederation and the Cantons.

2. Between the Confederation on one part and corpora-
tions or individuals on the other part, when such corporations
or individuals are plaintiffs, and when the amount involved is
of a degree of importance to be determined by federal
legislation.

3. Between Cantons.

4. Between Cantons on one part and corporations or
individuals on the other part, when one of the parties demands
it, and the amount involved is of a degree of importance to be
determined by federal legislation.

It further has jurisdiction in suits concerning the status of
persons not subjects of any government (heimathlosat), and
the conflicts which arise between Communes of different Can-
tons respecting the right of local citzenship. {Droit de citi,\

Art. III. The Federal Court is bound to give judgment
in other cases when both parties agree to aUde by its decision,
and when the amount involved is of a degree of importance to
be determined by federal legislation.

- Art. 112. The Federal Court, assisted by a jury to decide
upon questions of fact, has criminal jurisdiction in:

1. Cases of high treason against the Confederation, of
rebellion or violence against federal authorities.

2. Crimes and misdemeanors against the law of nations.

3. Political crimes and misdemeanors which are the
cause or the result of disturbances which occasion armed fed-
eral intervention.



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390 THE RISE OF THE SWISS REPUBLIC.

4. Cases against officials appointed by s^ feder^ author-
ity, where such authority relegates them to the Federal Court
Art. 1 13. The Federal Court further has jurisdiction :

1. Over conflicts of jurisdiction between federal author-
ities on one part and cantonal authorities on the other part.

2. Disputes between Cantons, when such disputes are
upon questions of public law.

3. Complaints of violation of the constitutional rights of
citizens, and complaints of individuals for the violation of con-
cordats or treaties.

Conflicts of administrative jurisdiction are reserved, and are
to be settled in a manner prescribed by federal legislation.

In all the fore-mentioned cases the Federal Court shall
apply the laws passed by the Federal Assembly ^d those reso*
lutions of the Assembly which have a general import, ft shall
in like manner conform to treaties which shall have been rati-
fied by the Federal Assembly.

Ai^T. 114. Besides the cases specified in Articles no, 112,
and 113, the Confed^n^tion may by law plac^ ot;|;ier matters
within the jurisdiction of the Federal Court ; in particular, it
may give to that court powers intended to insure the uniform
application of the laws provided for in Article 64.

V. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS.

Art. 1 1 5. All that relates to the location of the authori-
ties of the Confederation is a subject for federal legislation.

Art. 116. The-three principal languages spoken in Swit-
zerland, German, French, and Italian, are national languages of
the Confederation.

Art. 117. The officials of the Confederation are respon-
sible for their conduct in office. A federal law shall enforce
this responsibility*



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CONSTITUTION OF SWISS CONFEDEEATION. 591
CHAPTER IIL AMENDMENT OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITimON^

Art. 1 1 8. The Federal Constituti^a may at anyJUme be
wholly or partially amended.

Art. 119. Con^plete Atoendment is secured tfarougb tbe
forms required for passing federal laws.

Art. 120. When either Council of the Federal Assembly
passes a resolution for the complete amendment of the I^edend
Constitution and the other Council does not agree ; or when
fifty thousand Swiss voters demand the complete amendment,
the question whether the Federal Constitution ought to be
amended is» in either case, submitted to a vote of the Swiss
people, voting yes or no.

If in either case the majority of the Swiss citizens who vote
pronounce in the affirmative, there shall be a new election of
both Councils for the purpose of preparing tbe complete
amendment.

Art. 121. [Amendment of July 7th, 1891.]

Partial amendment may take place through the forms of
Popular Initiative, or of those required for passing federal laws.

The Popular Initiative may be used when fifty thousand
Swiss voters present a petition for the enactment, the abolition
or the alteration of certain articles of the Federal Constitution.

When several dififerent subjects are proposed for amendment
or for enactment in the Federal Constitution by means of the
Popular Initiative, each must form the subject of a special
petition.

Petitions may be presented in the form of general suggest-
ions or of finished bills. When a petition is presented in the
form of a general suggestion, and the Federal Assembly agrees
thereto, it is the duty of that body to elaborate a partial
amendment in the sense of the Initiators, and to refer it to the
people and the Cantons for acceptance or rejection. If the
Federal Assembly does not agree to the petition, then the
question of whether there shall be a partial amendment at all
must be submitted to the vote of the people, and if the major-



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392 THE RISE OF THE SWISS REFTTBLIC.

ity of Swiss voters express themselves in the affirmative, the
amendment must be taken in hand by the Federal Assembly
in the sense of the people.

When a petition is presented in the. form of a finished bill,
and the Federal Assembly agrees thereto, the bill must be
referred to the people and the Cantons for acceptance or
rejection. In case the Federal Assembly does not agree, that
body can elaborate a bill of its own, or move to reject the
petition, and submit its own bill or motion of rejection to the
vote of the people and the Cantons along with the petition.
' Art. 122. A Federal law shall determine 'more precisely
the manner of procedure in popular petitions and in voting for
amendments to the Constitution.

Art. 123. The amended Federal Constitution, or the
amended part thereof, shall be in force when it has been
adopted by the majority of Swiss citizens who take part in the
vote thereon and by a majority of the States.

In making up a majority of the States the vote of a Half-
Canton is counted as half a vote.

The result of the popular vote in each Canton is considered
to be the vote of the State.

TEMPORARY PROVISIONS.

Article i. The proceeds of the posts and customs shall
be divided upon the present basis, until such time as the Con-
federation shall take upon itself the military expenses up to
this time borne by the Cantons.

Federal legislation shall provide, besides, that the loss which
may be occasioned to the finances of certain Cantons by the
sum of the charges which result from Articles 20, 30, 36 (§ 2)
and 42 {e), shall fall upon such Cantons only gradually, and
shall not attain its full effect till after a transition period of
some years.

Those Cantons which, at the going into effect of Article
20 of the Constitution, have not fulfilled the military obliga-



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CONSTITUTION OF SWISS CONFEDERATION 393

tions which are imposed upon them by the former Constitu-
tion, or by federal laws, shall be bound to carry them out at
their own expense.

Art. 2. The provisions of the federal laws and of the
cantonal concordats, constitutions or cantonal laws, which are
contrary to this Constitution, cease to have eflfect by the adop-
tion of the Constitution or the publication of the laws for
which it provides.

Art. 3. The new provisions relating to the organization
and jurisdiction of the Federal Court take eflfect only after the
publication of federal laws thereon.

Art. 4. A delay of five years is allowed to Cantons for
the establishment of free instruction in primary public educa-
tion. (Art. 27.)

Art. 5. Those persons who practice a liberal profession,
and who, before the publication of the federal law provided for
in Article 33, have obtained a certificate of competence from
a Canton or a joint authority representing several Cantons,
may pursue that profession throughout the Confederation.

Art. 6. [Amendment of Dec. 22, 1885.]

If a federal law for carrying out Article 32 (ii) be passed
before the end of 1890, the import duties levied on spirituous
liquors by the Cantons and Communes, according to Article
32, cease on the going into effect of such law.

If, in such case, the shares of any Canton or Commune, out
of the sums to be divided, are not suflScient to equal the
average annual net proceeds of the taxes they have levied on
spirituous liquors in the years 1880 to 1884 inclusive, the
Cantons and Communes affected shall, till the end of 1890,
receive the amount of the deficiency out of the amount which
is to be divided among the other Cantons according to popu-
lation; and the remainder only shall be divided among such
other Cantons and Communes, according to population.

The Confederation shall further provide by law that for
such Cantons or Communes as may suffer financial loss
through the effect of this amendment, such loss shall not



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SM THE EISE OF THB SWISS REPUBLIC.

come upon them immediately in its full ei^ent, but gradually
up to the year 1895. The indemnities thereby made neoei-
sary shall be previously taken out of the net proceeds desig-
nated in Article 32 (ii)» paragraph 4.

Thus resolved by the National Council to be submitted to
the popular vote of the Swiss people and of the Cantons.
Bern, January 3 1, 1 874.

ZiEGLER, President
ScHiESS, Secretary.
Thus resolved by the Council of States, to be submitted
to the popular vote of the Swiss people and of the Cantons.
Bem^ January 31, 1874.

A. Kopp, President

J. L. LuTSCHER, Secretary.



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REFERENCE LITERATURE.



Online LibraryWilliam Denison McCrackanThe rise of the Swiss republic: A history → online text (page 30 of 32)