Demographics of the Swiss Federal Council

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The Swiss Federal Council, 2008. Official photograph.

The tables below show information and statistics about the members of the Swiss Federal Council (in German: Bundesrat, in French: conseil fédéral, in Italian: consiglio federale), or Federal Councilors (in German: Bundesräte, in French: conseillers fédéraux, in Italian: consiglieri federali).

The Swiss Federal Council (German: Schweizerischer Bundesrat, French: Conseil fédéral suisse, Italian: Consiglio federale svizzero, Romansh: Cussegl federal svizzer) is the seven-member executive council which constitutes the government as well as the head of state of Switzerland. Each of the seven Federal Councillors heads a department of the Swiss federal government. The members of the Federal Council are elected for a term of four years by both chambers of the federal parliament sitting together as the Federal Assembly. Each Councillor is elected individually by secret ballot by an absolute majority of votes. Since 1848, the seven Councillors have never been replaced simultaneously, thus guaranteeing a continuity of the government.

Once elected for a four-year-term, Federal Councillors can neither be voted out of office by a motion of no confidence nor can they be impeached. Reelection is possible for an indefinite number of terms, and it has historically been extremely rare for Parliament not to reelect a sitting Councillor and this has only happened four times. In practice, therefore, Councillors serve until they decide to resign and retire to private life, usually after three to five terms of office.

Parties[edit]

Parties Members
FDP/PRD (Freisinnige, parti radical) 67
LPS/PLS 1
CVP/PDC (formerly KVP) 20
SVP/UDC (formerly BGB/PAI) 10
SPS/PSS 12

Time in office[edit]

Longest time:
Schenk died in his 32nd year in office.
Shortest time:
Perrier died just 14 months after his election.

The following tables do not include councilors currently in office.

Longest Time in Office
Years Name Term
31 Karl Schenk 1863–1895
29 Adolf Deucher 1883–1912
28 Giuseppe Motta 1911–1940
27 Wilhelm Matthias Naeff 1848–1875
25 Emil Welti 1866–1891
Philipp Etter 1934–1959
24 Eduard Müller 1895–1919
22 Edmund Schulthess 1912–1935
20 Melchior Josef Martin Knüsel 1855–1875
Shortest Time in Office
Years Name Term
1 Louis Perrier 1912–1913
Rudolf Friedrich 1982–1984
2 Gustave Ador 1917–1919
Jean Bourgknecht 1959–1962
Max Weber 1951–1954
Victor Ruffy 1867–1869
3 Eugène Borel 1872–1875
Joachim Heer 1875–1878
Josef Anton Schobinger 1908–1911
4 Christoph Blocher 2003–2007
Alphons Egli 1983–1986
Elisabeth Kopp 1984–1989
Josef Escher 1950–1954
Ruth Metzler 1999–2003
5 Ernst Wetter 1938–1943
Fridolin Anderwert 1875–1880
Fritz Honegger 1977–1982
Giuseppe Lepori 1954–1959
Hermann Obrecht 1935–1940
Paul Cérésole 1870–1875
René Felber 1987–1993
Thomas Holenstein 1955–1959

Age (oldest and youngest)[edit]

The Oldest:
Ador was elected at age 72
The Youngest:
Numa Droz was 31 years old at his election
Age when elected
Age Name Elected
72 Gustave Ador 1917
65 Josef Escher 1950
63 Louis Perrier 1912
Christoph Blocher 2003
62 Ernest Chuard 1919
61 Ernst Wetter 1938
Hans Streuli 1953
Pierre Graber 1969
Hans-Rudolf Merz 2004
60 Fritz Honegger 1977
Johannes Baumann 1934
...
39 Eugène Ruffy 1893
Jakob Dubs 1861
Marcel Pilet-Golaz 1928
38 Paul Cérésole 1870
37 Ulrich Ochsenbein 1848
36 Constant Fornerod 1855
Eugène Borel 1872
35 Ruth Metzler 1999
34 Jakob Stämpfli 1854
31 Numa Droz 1875
Age when resigning/dying in office
Age Name Year
81 Adolf Deucher 1912
74 Gustave Ador 1919
73 Joseph Zemp 1908
Wilhelm Matthias Naeff 1875
72 Ludwig Forrer 1917
71 Karl Schenk 1895
Ernest Chuard 1928
70 Eduard Müller 1919
Eduard von Steiger 1951
...
50 Adrien Lachenal 1899
49 Jakob Dubs 1872
48 Constant Fornerod 1867
Numa Droz 1892
46 Victor Ruffy 1869
43 Jakob Stämpfli 1863
Paul Cérésole 1875
Ulrich Ochsenbein 1854
40 Eugène Borel 1875
39 Ruth Metzler 2004

Lifespan[edit]

Ochsenbein lived for 36 years after being voted out of office
The Oldest:
Schaffner died at age 95 in 2004
Years alive after resigning from office
Years Name Died
36 Ulrich Ochsenbein 1890
35 Hans Schaffner 2004
33 Max Petitpierre 1994
32 Constant Fornerod 1899
Felix-Louis Calonder 1952
30 Enrico Celio 1980
Paul Cérésole 1905
29 Hans-Peter Tschudi 2002
28 Rudolf Friedrich 2013
27 Alphons Egli Living
26 Pierre Aubert Living
25 Emil Frey 1922
Pierre Graber 2003
Elisabeth Kopp Living
24 Leon Schlumpf 2012
22 Nello Celio 1995
Longest living members of the Swiss Federal Council
Age Name Died
95 Hans Schaffner 2004
Max Petitpierre 1994
94 Pierre Graber 2003
90 Enrico Celio 1980
Rudolf Friedrich 2013
Alphons Egli Living
88 Felix-Louis Calonder 1952
Hans-Peter Tschudi 2002
Willy Spühler 1990
87 Georges-André Chevallaz 2002
Pierre Aubert Living
86 Friedrich Traugott Wahlen 1985
Philipp Etter 1977
Leon Schlumpf 2012

References[edit]

External links[edit]