Council of States (Switzerland)

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Council of States
Ständerat  (German)
Conseil des États  (French)
Consiglio degli Stati  (Italian)
Cussegl dals Stadis  (Romansh)
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Leadership
Raphaël Comte, FDP/PLR
Since November 2015
First Vice President
Ivo Bischofberger, CVP/PDC
Since November 2015
Second Vice President
Karin Keller-Sutter, FDP/PLR
Since November 2015
Structure
Seats 46
Svgfiles-2015-12-13-23-50-28-692181-10661002447557771524.svg
Political groups

Government parties (43)

Other parliamentary parties (3)

Elections
Last election
18 October 2015[1]
Meeting place
Bundeshaus - Ständeratssaal - 001.jpg
Federal Palace of Switzerland, Bern
Website
http://www.parliament.ch/
Coat of Arms of Switzerland (Pantone).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Switzerland

The Council of States (German: Ständerat, French: Conseil des États, Italian: Consiglio degli Stati, Romansh: Cussegl dals Stadis) 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.[2]

Twenty of the country's cantons are represented by two councillors each. Six cantons, traditionally called "half cantons", are represented by one Councillor each for historical reasons. These are Obwalden, Nidwalden, Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft, Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden.[3]

The councillors serve for four years, and are not bound in their vote to instructions from the cantonal authorities. Under the Swiss Federal Constitution, the mode of election is left to the cantons, the proviso being that it must be a democratic method. However, all cantons now provide for the councillors to be chosen by popular election. In all cantons except for canton of Zug and canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, the Councillors are elected concurrently with the members of the National Council. In the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden the representatives are elected by the physically convened popular assembly (Landsgemeinde). With the exception of the canton of Jura, where a proportional representation election system is used, the representatives are elected by majority vote.[4]

Working languages[edit]

In debates, councilors can choose any of the federal languages, usually the one (s)he is most proficient with: German, French, Italian, or Romansh.[5] German (High German) and French are frequently used.

List of members[edit]

Seats by party[edit]

e • d  Summary of the 2015 Council of States of Switzerland results
Parties Ideology 2011 Seats ±
Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC) Christian democracy 13 13 ±0
FDP.The Liberals (FDP/PRD) Classical liberalism 11 13 +2
Social Democratic Party (SPS/PSS) Social democracy 11 12 +1
Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) National conservatism 5 5 ±0
Green Party (GPS/PES) Green politics 2 1 -1
Green Liberal Party (GLP/PVL) Green liberalism 2 0 -2
Conservative Democratic Party (BDP/PBD) Conservatism / Economic liberalism 1 1 ±0
Independent Independent 1 1 ±0
Total 46 46
Source: https://www.ch.ch/en/elections2015/resultate-staenderat/staenderat-a-z/

Past seat compositions by party[edit]

2011 election[edit]

e • d  Summary of the 23 October, 13 November, 20 November, 27 November and 4 December 2011 Council of States of Switzerland election results
Parties Ideology 2007 Seats ±
Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC) Christian democracy 15 13 -2
FDP.The Liberals (FDP/PRD) Classical liberalism 12 11 -1
Social Democratic Party (SPS/PSS) Social democracy 9 11 +2
Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) National conservatism 7 5 -2
Green Party (GPS/PES) Green politics 2 2 ±0
Green Liberal Party (GLP/VL) Green liberalism 1 2 +1
Conservative Democratic Party (BDP/PBD) Conservatism / Economic liberalism New 1 +1
Independent Independent 0 1 +1
Total 46 46
Source: http://www.politik-stat.ch/srw2011CH_de.html


2007 election[edit]

e • d Summary of the 21 October, 11 November, 18 November and 25 November 2007 Council of States of Switzerland election results
Parties Ideology 2003 Seats ±
Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC) Christian democracy 15 15 ±0
Free Democratic Party (FDP/PRD) Classical liberalism 14 12 –2
Social Democratic Party (SPS/PSS) Social democracy 9 9 ±0
Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) National conservatism 8 7 –1
Green Party (GPS/PES) Green politics 0 2 +2
Green Liberal Party (GLP/VL) Green liberalism 0 1 +1
Total 46 46
Source: http://www.politik-stat.ch/srw2007CH_de.html

Population per seat[edit]

The Council of States represents the federal nature of Switzerland: seats are distributed by state (canton), not by population. Most cantons send 2 representatives, while the historic half-cantons; Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landshaft, each send one.[3] Consequently, the number of people represented by a single seat in the Council of State varies by a factor of 40, from 15,000 for Appenzell Innerrhoden to 600,000 for Zurich.

Abbr Canton Seats Population ¹ per seat ² 
ZH Zurich 2 1,466,100 733,050 1.0
BE Bern 2 1,017,200 508,600 1.4
VD Vaud 2 773,200 386,600 1.9
AG Aargau 2 653,500 326,750 2.2
BL Basel-Landschaft 1 283,200 283,200 2.6
SG St. Gallen 2 499,000 249,500 2.9
GE Geneva 2 484,400 242,200 3.0
LU Lucerne 2 398,700 199,350 3.7
BS Basel-Stadt 1 191,800 191,800 3.8
TI Ticino 2 351,900 175,950 4.2
VS Valais 2 335,600 167,800 4.4
FR Fribourg 2 307,400 153,700 4.8
TG Thurgau 2 267,400 133,700 5.5
SO Solothurn 2 266,400 133,200 5.5
GR Graubünden 2 196,600 98,300 7.5
NE Neuchâtel 2 178,100 89,050 8.2
SZ Schwyz 2 154,100 77,050 9.5
ZG Zug 2 122,100 61,050 12.0
AR Appenzell Ausserrhoden 1 54,500 54,500 13.5
NW Nidwalden 1 42,400 42,400 17.3
SH Schaffhausen 2 79,800 39,900 18.4
OW Obwalden 1 37,100 37,100 19.8
JU Jura 2 72,800 36,400 20.1
GL Glarus 2 40,000 20,000 36.7
UR Uri 2 36,000 18,000 40.7
AI Appenzell Innerrhoden 1 16,000 16,000 45.8
Overall 46 8,325,200 180,983 4.1

Notes: ¹ Population data from 2015 ([6]). ² Relative representation compared to Zürich.

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Part of the SVP/UDC parliamentary group

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Parliamentary Groups of the 50th Legislative Period 2015-2019" (official site). Berne, Switzerland: The Swiss Parliament. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  2. ^ "The Council of States" (official site). Berne, Switzerland: The Swiss Parliament. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  3. ^ a b "Member of the Council of States by Canton" (official site). Berne, Switzerland: The Swiss Parliament. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  4. ^ "Elections 2015:How the elections to the Council of States are organised: process, rules and principal stages". ch.ch – A service of the Confederation, cantons and communes (official site). Berne, Switzerland: The Swiss Confederation. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  5. ^ "Art. 8 Bundesversammlung, SR 441.1 SpG (Bundesgesetz über die Landessprachen und die Verständigung zwischen den Sprachgemeinschaften)" (official site) (in German, French, Italian, and Romansh). Berne, Switzerland: The Swiss Federal Council. Retrieved 2016-08-09. 
  6. ^ Population data 2015 accessed 28 July 2016

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]