Council of States (Switzerland)

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Council of States
German: Ständerat
French: Conseil des Etats
Italian: Consiglio degli Stati
Romansh: Cussegl dals Stadis
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Leadership
Claude HêcheSPS/PSS
Since 24 November 2014
First Vice President
Raphaël ComteFDP/PLR
Since 24 November 2014
Second Vice President
Ivo BischofbergerCVP/PDC
Since 24 November 2014
Structure
Seats 46
Svgfiles-2015-12-13-23-50-28-692181-10661002447557771524.svg
Political groups

Government parties (43)

Opposition parties (3)

Elections
Last election
18 October 2015
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 Etats, 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.

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.

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 Zug and 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.

Working languages[edit]

In debates, German (High German) and French are used. Italian and Romansh are not used in debates. Debates are not interpreted, which means all representatives must understand German and French.

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. 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 1,446,400 723,200 1.0
BE Bern 2 1,009,400 504,700 1.4
VD Vaud 2 761,400 380,700 1.9
AG Aargau 2 645,300 322,650 2.2
BL Basel-Landschaft 1 281,300 281,300 2.6
SG St. Gallen 2 495,800 247,900 2.9
GE Geneva 2 477,400 238,700 3.0
LU Lucerne 2 394,600 197,300 3.7
BS Basel-Stadt 1 190,600 190,600 3.8
TI Ticino 2 350,400 175,200 4.1
VS Valais 2 331,800 165,900 4.4
FR Fribourg 2 303,400 151,700 4.8
TG Thurgau 2 263,700 131,850 5.5
SO Solothurn 2 263,700 131,850 5.5
GR Graubünden 2 195,900 97,950 7.4
NE Neuchâtel 2 177,300 88,650 8.2
SZ Schwyz 2 152,800 76,400 9.5
ZG Zug 2 120,100 60,050 12.0
AR Appenzell Ausserrhoden 1 54,100 54,100 13.4
NW Nidwalden 1 42,100 42,100 17.2
SH Schaffhausen 2 79,400 39,700 18.2
OW Obwalden 1 36,800 36,800 19.7
JU Jura 2 72,400 36,200 20.0
GL Glarus 2 39,800 19,900 36.3
UR Uri 2 36,000 18,000 40.2
AI Appenzell Innerrhoden 1 15,900 15,900 45.5
Overall 46 8,237,700 179,080 4.0

Notes: ¹ Population data from 2014 (source). ² Relative representation compared to Zürich.

Notes and references[edit]

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]