Federal Assembly (Switzerland)

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Federal Assembly
Swiss Council Logo.svg
Type
Type
Houses Council of States
National Council
Leadership
President of the National Council
President of the Council of States
Structure
Seats246
200 National Council
46 Council of States
Swiss Federal Apportionment Diagram.svg
National Council political groups
Council of States (Switzerland) Nov 2015.svg
Council of States political groups
Elections
National Council last election
18 October 2015
Council of States last election
18 October, 15 and 22 November 2015
Meeting place
Bundeshaus - Nationalratsratssaal - 001.jpg
Federal Palace of Switzerland, Bern
Website
www.parliament.ch

The Federal Assembly (German : Bundesversammlung, French : Assemblée fédérale, Italian : Assemblea federale, Romansh : Assamblea federala) is Switzerland's federal legislature. It meets in Bern in the Federal Palace.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.

Contents

The Federal Assembly is bicameral, being composed of the 200-seat National Council and the 46-seat Council of States. The houses have identical powers. Members of both houses represent the cantons, but, whereas seats in the National Council are distributed in proportion to population, each canton has two seats in the Council of States, except the six 'half-cantons', which have one seat each. Both are elected in full once every four years, with the last election being held in 2015.

A bicameral legislature divides the legislators into two separate assemblies, chambers, or houses. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deliberate and vote as a single group, and from some legislatures that have three or more separate assemblies, chambers, or houses. As of 2015, fewer than half the world's national legislatures are bicameral.

National Council (Switzerland) lower house

The National Council is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, the upper house being the Council of States. With 200 seats, the National Council is the larger of the two houses.

Council of States (Switzerland) upper house

The Council of States is the smaller chamber of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland, and is considered the Assembly's upper house, with the National Council being the lower house. There are 46 Councillors.

The Federal Assembly possesses the federal government's legislative power, along with the separate constitutional right of citizen's initiative. For a law to pass, it must be passed by both houses. The Federal Assembly may come together as a United Federal Assembly in certain circumstances, such as to elect the Federal Council (the head of government and state), the Federal Chancellor, the federal judges or a general (only in times of great national danger).

Initiative means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote

In political science, an initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote in parliament called an indirect initiative or via a direct initiative, the latter then being dubbed a Popular initiated Referendum.

Head of government is a generic term used for either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. The term "head of government" is often differentiated from the term "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.

A head of state is the public persona who officially represents the national unity and legitimacy of a sovereign state. Depending on the country's form of government and separation of powers, the head of state may be a ceremonial figurehead or concurrently the head of government. In a parliamentary system the head of state is the de jure leader of the nation, and there is a separate de facto leader, often with the title of prime minister. In contrast, a semi-presidential system has both heads of state and government as the leaders de facto of the nation.

History

The Federal Assembly was created in 1848, with the rise of Switzerland as a federal state. The previous central institution was the Federal Diet of Switzerland.

Switzerland as a federal state

The rise of Switzerland as a federal state began on 12 September 1848, with the creation of a federal constitution in response to a 27-day civil war in Switzerland, the Sonderbundskrieg. The constitution, which was heavily influenced by the United States Constitution and the ideas of the French Revolution, was modified several times during the following decades and wholly replaced in 1999. The constitution represents the first time that the Swiss were governed by a strong central government instead of being simply a collection of independent cantons bound by treaties.

Tagsatzung legislative and executive council of the Swiss Confederacy which existed in various forms since the beginnings of Swiss independence until the formation of the Swiss federal state in 1848

The Federal Diet of Switzerland was the legislative and executive council of the Swiss Confederacy which existed in various forms since the beginnings of Swiss independence until the formation of the Swiss federal state in 1848.

Composition

The Federal Assembly is made up of two chambers:

Seats in the National Council are allocated to the cantons proportionally, based on population. In the Council of States, every canton has two seats (except for the former "half-cantons", which have one seat each).

The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the Swiss Confederation. The nucleus of the Swiss Confederacy in the form of the first three confederate allies used to be referred to as the Waldstätte. Two further major steps in the development of the Swiss cantonal system are referred to by the terms Acht Orte and Dreizehn Orte ; they were important intermediate periods of the Ancient Swiss Confederacy.

Population All the organisms of a given species that live in the specified region

In biology, a population is all the organisms of the same group or species, which live in a particular geographical area, and have the capability of interbreeding. The area of a sexual population is the area where inter-breeding is potentially possible between any pair within the area, and where the probability of interbreeding is greater than the probability of cross-breeding with individuals from other areas.

A canton is a type of administrative division of a country. In general, cantons are relatively small in terms of area and population when compared with other administrative divisions such as counties, departments, or provinces. Internationally, the best-known cantons - and the most politically important - are those of Switzerland. As the constituents of the Swiss Confederation, theoretically, the Swiss cantons are semi-sovereign states.

United Federal Assembly

On occasions the two houses sit jointly as the "United Federal Assembly" (German : Vereinigte Bundesversammlung, French : Assemblée fédérale, Chambres réunies, Italian : Assemblea federale plenaria, Romansh : Assamblea federala plenara). This is done to:

The United Federal Assembly is presided by the National Council's presidency.

The Federal Assembly also confirms the appointment of the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (appointed by the Federal Council). [1]

Groups

Coat of Arms of Switzerland (Pantone).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Switzerland

Parties can cooperate in groups, allowing smaller parties access to rights as part of a caucus. These groups must have at least five members and must be maintained across both chambers. [2] Being a member of a formal group gives members the right to sit on committees, and those that aren't members can't speak in most debates. Each group receives a fixed allowance of CHF[ clarification needed ]112,000, whilst each member of a group also receives an additional CHF20,800 a year each. [2] [ unreliable source? ]

Since March 2009, there have been six groups in the Federal Assembly. The latest group to form was the Conservative Democratic Party which split off the Swiss People's Party in 2008. The Christian Democrats/EPP/glp Group (CEg) was formed after the 2007 elections, out of the former Christian Democratic (C) and EPP (E) groups. The current FTP/Liberal group (RL) was formed in 2003 out of the former FDP (R) and Liberal (L) groups; since the 2009 fusion of the Free Democrati and Liberal Parties, RL is once again a single-party group. In 2011, the CEg was disbanded, the Green Liberals formed their own parliamentary group (GL) and the three Christian parties formed the Christian-Evangelical Group (CE).

Currently (for the legislative period of 2015 - 2019), the seven parliamentary groups are composed as follows [3] :

GroupPartiesNCCSTotal
People's parliamentary group (V) Swiss People's Party 65574
Ticino League 20
Geneva Citizens' Movement 10
Independent 01
Social Democrats parliamentary group (S) Social Democratic Party 431255
FDP.The Liberals parliamentary group (RL) FDP.The Liberals 331346
Christian-Evangelical parliamentary group (CE) Christian Democratic People's Party 271343
Evangelical People's Party 20
Christian Social Party 10
Green parliamentary group (G) Green Party 11113
Swiss Party of Labour 10
BDP parliamentary group (BD) Conservative Democratic Party 718
Green Liberal parliamentary group (GL) Green Liberal Party 707

See also

Notes and references

  1. Federal Act on Data Protection of 19 June 1992 (status as of 1 January 2014), Federal Chancellery of Switzerland (page visited on 18 September 2016).
  2. 1 2 Swiss Confederation (2010), p. 36
  3. "Parliamentary groups". www.parlament.ch. Retrieved 2017-05-28.

Bibliography


Related Research Articles

Switzerland is a semi-direct democratic federal republic. The federal legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Federal Assembly, the National Council and the Council of States. The Federal Council holds the executive power and is composed of seven power-sharing Federal Councillors elected by the Federal Assembly. The judicial branch is headed by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, whose judges are elected by the Federal Assembly.

Chancellor of Switzerland position

The Federal Chancellor is the head of the Federal Chancellery of Switzerland, which acts as the general staff of the seven-member Federal Council. The Swiss Chancellor is not a member of the government, and the office of Chancellor is not at all comparable to that of the Chancellors of Germany or the Chancellor of Austria.

Chancellor is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers, who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the audience. A chancellor's office is called a chancellery or chancery. The word is now used in the titles of many various officers in all kinds of settings. Nowadays the term is most often used to describe:

Federal Council (Switzerland) seven-member executive council which constitutes the federal government of Switzerland and serves as the collective Swiss head of state

The Federal Council is the seven-member executive council that constitutes the federal government of the Swiss Confederation and serves as the collective executive head of state and of government of Switzerland.

2003 Swiss federal election election to the federal parliament in Switzerland

Federal elections were held in Switzerland on 19 October 2003. Although in Switzerland's political system, in which all four major parties form a coalition, it is very difficult to achieve a change of government, this election produced an upset with the strong showing of the right-wing, anti-European Union and anti-immigration Swiss People's Party. The left-wing parties, the Social Democrats and the Greens, also improved their positions. The losers were the parties of the centre and centre-right, the Christian Democratic People's Party and the Free Democratic Party.

Green Party of Switzerland party in the National Council of Switzerland

The Green Party of Switzerland is the fifth-largest party in the National Council of Switzerland, and the largest party that is not represented on the Federal Council.

Christian Democratic Peoples Party of Switzerland political party

The Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland is a Christian-democratic political party in Switzerland. It is the fourth-largest party in the National Council, with 28 seats, and the largest in the Council of States, with 13 seats. It has one seat, that of Viola Amherd, on the Swiss Federal Council.

Evangelical Peoples Party of Switzerland political party

The Evangelical People's Party of Switzerland is a Protestant Christian-democratic political party in Switzerland, active mainly in the Cantons of Bern, Basel-Land, Basel-Stadt, Aargau and Zürich. "Evangelical" translates as evangelisch, the German term for "Protestant", as opposed to "evangelical" as used in Anglo-Saxon Christianity.

Ticino League political party

The Ticino League is a regionalist and national-conservative political party in Switzerland active in the canton of Ticino.

Elections in Switzerland gives information on election and election results in Switzerland.

Federal Palace of Switzerland federal building in Bern, Switzerland

The Federal Palace refers to the building in Bern housing the Swiss Federal Assembly (legislature) and the Federal Council (executive). It consists of a central assembly building and two wings housing government departments and a library.

Swiss Federal Constitution constitution of the Swiss Confederation

The Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of 18 April 1999 is the third and current federal constitution of Switzerland. It establishes the Swiss Confederation as a federal republic of 26 cantons (states). The document contains a catalogue of individual and popular rights, delineates the responsibilities of the cantons and the Confederation and establishes the federal authorities of government.

The Green Liberal Party of Switzerland, abbreviated to glp, is a centrist green-liberal political party in Switzerland. Founded in 2007, the party holds seven seats in the Federal Assembly as of 2017.

Federal Chancellery of Switzerland

The Federal Chancellery of Switzerland is a department-level agency of the federal administration of Switzerland. It is the staff organisation of the federal government, the Federal Council. As of 2016, it is headed by Federal Chancellor Walter Thurnherr of the Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland.

Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland political party

The Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland is a conservative political party in Switzerland. Since the 2015 General election, the BDP has had seven members in the National Council and one in the Council of States.