In the name of Almighty God!
Text provided by the Swiss Federal Chancellery.
English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.
In the name of Almighty God!
The Swiss People and the Cantons,
mindful of their responsibility towards creation,
resolved to renew their alliance so as to strengthen liberty, democracy, independence and peace in a spirit of solidarity and openness towards the world,
determined to live together with mutual consideration and respect for their diversity,
conscious of their common achievements and their responsibility towards future generations,
and in the knowledge that only those who use their freedom remain free, and that the strength of a people is measured by the well-being of its weakest members;
adopt the following Constitution:
The People and the Cantons of Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden, Glarus, Zug, Fribourg, Solothurn, Basel Stadt and Basel Landschaft, Schaffhausen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden, St. Gallen, Graubünden, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, Geneva, and Jura form the Swiss Confederation.
The Cantons are sovereign except to the extent that their sovereignty is limited by the Federal Constitution. They exercise all rights that are not vested in the Confederation.
The National Languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh.
The principle of subsidiarity must be observed in the allocation and performance of state tasks.
All individuals shall take responsibility for themselves and shall, according to their abilities, contribute to achieving the tasks of the state and society.
Human dignity must be respected and protected.
Every person has the right to be treated by state authorities in good faith and in a non-arbitrary manner.
Persons in need and unable to provide for themselves have the right to assistance and care, and to the financial means required for a decent standard of living.
The right to marry and to have a family is guaranteed.
The freedom to use any language is guaranteed.
The right to an adequate and free basic education is guaranteed.
Freedom of research and teaching is guaranteed.
Freedom of artistic expression is guaranteed.
In a legal dispute, every person has the right to have their case determined by a judicial authority. The Confederation and the Cantons may by law preclude the determination by the courts of certain exceptional categories of case.
The Cantons decide on the duties that they must fulfil within the scope of their powers.
The Confederation and the Cantons shall endeavour to achieve a balanced and sustainable relationship between nature and its capacity to renew itself and the demands placed on it by the population.
The Confederation shall lay down principles on fishing and hunting and in particular on the preservation of the diversity of fish species, wild mammals and birds.
The Confederation may in the interests of the country as a whole or a large part of it carry out and operate public construction works, or provide support for such construction works.
It shall use half of the net proceeds from the consumption tax on aircraft fuels for the following tasks and costs in connection with air traffic:
The legislation on rail transport, cableways, shipping, aviation and space travel is the responsibility of the Confederation.
The Confederation is responsible for legislation in the field of nuclear energy.
The Confederation may support regions of the country that are under economic threat and promote specific economic sectors and professions, if reasonable self-help measures are insufficient to ensure their existence. In exercising its powers under this Article, it may if necessary depart from the principle of economic freedom.
The legislation on the manufacture, import, rectification and sale of alcohol obtained by distillation is the responsibility of the Confederation. The Confederation shall in particular take account of the harmful effects of alcohol consumption.
Persons in need shall be supported by their Canton of residence. The Confederation regulates exceptions and powers.
The Confederation and the Cantons shall within the scope of their powers ensure that consideration is given to complementary medicine.
The right to prosecute sexual or pornography offences involving prepubescent children and the penalties for such offences is not subject to a time limit.
The Confederation and the Cantons shall ensure that persons who have suffered harm to their physical, mental or sexual integrity as the result of a criminal act receive support and are adequately compensated if they experience financial difficulties as a result of that criminal act.
The Confederation is responsible for legislation on weights and measures.
The Confederation is responsible for legislation on customs duties and other duties on the cross-border movement of goods.
Anything that is declared by federal legislation to be subject to, or exempt from value added tax, special consumption taxes, stamp duty or withholding tax may not be made liable to similar taxes by the Cantons or communes.
The political parties shall contribute to forming the opinion and will of the People.
Any person eligible to vote may be elected to the National Council, the Federal Council or the Federal Supreme Court.
The members of the National Council and of the Federal Council as well as the Federal Chancellor are elected for a term of office of four years. Judges of the Federal Supreme Court have a term of office of six years.
The Confederation shall be liable for damage or loss unlawfully caused by its organs in the exercise of official activities.
The Cantons, the political parties and interested groups shall be invited to express their views when preparing important legislation or other projects of substantial impact as well as in relation to significant international treaties.
Each Council elects a President from its members for a term of one year, together with a first Vice-President and a second Vice-President. Re-election for the following year is not permitted.
The members the Federal Assembly may form parliamentary groups.
The Federal Assembly has parliamentary services at its disposal. It may call on the services of offices of the Federal Administration. The details are regulated by law.
Meetings of the Councils are held in public. The law may provide for exceptions.
The Federal Assembly determines the expenditure of the Confederation, adopt the budget and approve the federal accounts.
The Federal Assembly shall ensure that federal measures are evaluated with regard to their effectiveness.
The Federal Assembly may assign functions to the Federal Council. The details are regulated by law, and in particular the means by which the Federal Assembly may intervene in matters that fall within the remit of the Federal Council.
The Federal Council is the supreme governing and executive authority of the Confederation.
The Federal Chancellery is the general administrative office of the Federal Council. It is headed by a Federal Chancellor.
The Federal Council submits drafts of Federal Assembly legislation to the Federal Assembly.
[This para. in its version of Federal Decree of 4 Oct. 2002 never came into force.]
The Federal Supreme Court and the other judicial authorities apply the federal acts and international law.
The judicial authorities are independent in the exercise of their judicial powers and are bound only by the law.
The totally or partly revised Federal Constitution comes into force when it is approved by the People and the Cantons.
The transfer of freight transit traffic from road to rail must be completed ten years after the adoption of the popular initiative for the protection of the alpine regions from transit traffic.
over 12 to 18 t ... Fr. 2000
over 18 to 26 t ... Fr. 3000
over 26 t ... Fr. 4000
over 8 to 10 t ... Fr. 1500
over 10 t ... Fr. 2000
Until 23 September 2000, no general, construction, start-up or operating licences for new facilities for the production of nuclear energy may be granted.
Until the enactment of federal legislation, the Cantons must mutually recognise their education or training qualifications.
For no more than ten years from the date on which the Constitution comes into force, the Cantons may retain existing regulations that make the opening of new businesses dependent on establishing a need, in order to guarantee the existence of important parts of a specific branch of the hotel and restaurant industry.
[Art 106 was revised on 11 March 2012.]
Insured persons who belong to the generation working at the time of the introduction of the occupational pension scheme and therefore do not contribute for the full period shall receive the statutory minimum benefits, according to their income, within 10 to 20 years of the Act coming into force.
[Art 126 was revised on 2 Dec. 2001.]
Until a federal act comes into force, the beer tax shall be levied in accordance with the current law.
From the date on which the Federal Decree of 3 October 2003 on the New System of Financial Equalisation and the Allocation of Tasks between the Confederation and Cantons comes into force, the Cantons shall, until they have their own approved special-needs school strategies, but for a minimum of three years, assume responsibility for the current payments made by the Invalidity Insurance for special needs education (including the special needs pre-school education in accordance with Art 19 of the Federal Act of 19 June 1959 on Invalidity Insurance).
The Cantons shall construct the national roads listed in the Federal Decree of 21 June 1960 on the National Road Network (in its version valid on the commencement of the Federal Decree of 3 Oct. 2003 on the New System of Financial Equalisation and the Allocation of Tasks between the Confederation and Cantons) in accordance with the regulations of and under the supervision of the Confederation. The Confederation and Cantons shall share the costs. The share of the costs borne by the individual Cantons shall be determined by the burden imposed on them by the national roads, their interest in these roads, and their financial capacity.
From the date on which the Federal Decree of 3 October 2003 on the New System of Financial Equalisation and the Allocation of Tasks between the Confederation and Cantons comes into force, the Cantons shall assume responsibility for the current payments made by the Invalidity Insurance to institutions, workshops and residential homes until they have an approved strategy on people with disabilities that also regulates the granting of cantonal contributions towards the construction and running of institutions that accept residents from outside the relevant canton, but for a minimum of three years.
The current payments under Article 101bis of the Federal Act of 20 December 1946 on the Old-Age and Survivors’ Insurance for assistance and care in the home for elderly people and people with disabilities shall continue to be paid by the Cantons until cantonal regulations on the financing of assistance and care in the home come into force.
Swiss agriculture shall remain free of gene technology for a period of five years following the adoption of this constitutional provision. In particular, the following may neither be imported nor placed on the market:
The legislature must define and add to the offences covered by Article 121 paragraph 3 and issue the criminal provisions relating to illegal entry in accordance with Article 121 paragraph 6 within five years of the adoption of Article 121 paragraphs 3–6 by the People and the Cantons.
Until the statutory provisions come into force, the Federal Council shall issue the required implementing provisions within one year of the adoption of Article 95 paragraph 3 by the People and the Cantons.