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.

Political Parties

Some political parties are purely local, while others are well-rooted nationwide and have elected representatives in the Federal Assembly (parliament). The largest parties are represented in the Federal Council (cabinet).

The Federal Council

The Federal Council is the highest executive authority of the Swiss Confederation. Its members are drawn from the ranks of Switzerland’s main political parties.


Switzerland is made up of 26 cantons, which are themselves divided into more than 2,300 communes. The Confederation, the cantons and communes share political and legislative powers.

The Federal Assembly (parliament)

Switzerland has a bicameral parliament. All 246 members are directly elected by the people.

Direct Democracy

Direct democracy is one of the special features of the Swiss political system. It allows the electorate to express their opinion on decisions taken by the federal parliament and to propose amendments to the Federal Constitution.

The Cantons

Switzerland is made up of 26 cantons which enjoy a high degree of autonomy vis-à-vis the federal government.