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    The Swiss Constitution in force today was introduced as recently as the year 2000. However, Switzerland’s Constitution has experienced a lengthy history of adaptation and revision. The first section of this chapter examines the history behind the Constitution (1.), before outlining key concepts which are encompassed in its text, like the concept of citizenship (2), the protection of fundamental rights (3.), the allocation of powers between the federation, the cantons and the communes (4.) and the allocation of powers between the three branches of government on the federal level (5.).


    Until 1848, the ancient Swiss cantons together formed a rather loose confederation. The cantons themselves were sovereign states, tied together by treaties. A typical example of such a treaty was the Confederate Treaty of 1815. This was an agreement between the cantons to define a Swiss confederation, agreed by the cantons under pressure from the then predominant European powers during the reorganisation of Europe at the Congress of Vienna. Simultaneously, at this Congress, the other European states recognised the borders of the Swiss confederation and its neutrality. In 1847, a civil war broke out in which the (predominantly liberal) Protestant cantons fought against the (predominantly conservative) Catholic cantons. The conflict erupted after the Catholic cantons founded the Sonderbund (“separate alliance”); the Protestant cantons considered this alliance as violating the Confederate Treaty. The Protestant cantons prevailed, and the Sonderbund was dissolved.

    In the aftermath of this civil war, the Switzerland we know today was founded. In 1848, the new Constitution was put into force, although various cantons – mainly the Catholic ones which had been defeated in the civil war – originally opposed its content as well as the creation of a new federation. The new Constitution created a modern federal state, whereby enumerated policy areas fell under the competence of the federal level, leaving the regulation of all other policy areas to the then 25 cantons. It strengthened democratic structures and fundamental rights. It also introduced the organisational system of checks and balances on the federal level through the establishment of three separate branches of government: the Federal Assembly (the legislative branch), the Federal Council (the executive branch) and the Federal Supreme Court (the judicial branch). In part, the new Constitution was visibly inspired by the US Constitution and the achievements of the French revolution.1

    In 1874, the Constitution of 1848 was subjected to a complete revision. A major novelty was the introduction of the optional legislative referendum; citizens could request a binding vote on federal acts which the parliament planned to enact. Further, it was this revision that established the Federal Supreme Court as a permanent court. The army was unified; no longer did each canton have its own army. New fundamental rights such as economic freedom and the right to free primary school education were introduced. Other rights were extended, such as the right of domicile.

    Between 1874 and 1999, the Constitution was revised many times. As this occurred, the competences of the federal level were gradually enhanced. Moreover, the elements of direct democracy became more pronounced: in 1891, the right of the citizens to propose a revision of the Constitution was introduced. A further development was the creation of the 26th canton: in 1978, the Canton of Jura was founded. And eventually, as late as 1971, women were granted full political rights in federal matters (although some cantons took longer to guarantee the same right).2

    In 1999, the Constitution was again completely revised. The prime objective of this total overhaul was to update and improve the text, without making any substantial changes. The new text was put into force in 2000, after a majority of the people (59 % of those who voted) and a majority of the cantons (12 cantons, two half-cantons) approved it.3 It contains all the elements which are typical of a federal state’s modern Constitution (short of providing for the constitutional review of federal acts):

    -Title 1 (Articles 1–6 Constitution) defines the main features of the Swiss confederation. It provides a list of the 26 cantons, which, together with the people, form the confederation itself. It also sets out the aims of the Swiss confederation, in particular the objectives of protecting the rights and liberties of the people and safeguarding the independence and security of the country. This part also sets out the national languages of Switzerland as being German (the first language of 63.5 % of the population), French (22.5 %), Italian (8 %) and Romansh (0.5 %). Finally, this Title highlights the importance of the rule of law.

    -Title 2 (Articles 7–41 Constitution) lists the fundamental rights that apply in Switzerland and defines the requirements for Swiss citizenship.

    -Title 3 (Articles 42–135 Constitution) distinguishes the competences of the federation from the competences of the cantons and communes, by enumerating the competences which the federal level possesses. It also defines the financial system, including the rules on taxation. This section is by far the most voluminous, encompassing 104 articles.

    -Title 4 (Articles 136–142 Constitution) grants political rights in federal matters. In particular, it grants the right to participate in elections to the National Council and in popular votes (initiatives and referenda), as well as the right to launch or sign popular initiatives and requests for referenda.

    -Title 5 (Articles 143–191c Constitution) regulates the organisation and competences of the main federal authorities: namely, the Federal Assembly, the Federal Council and the federal administration, the Federal Supreme Court and the other judicial authorities.

    -Title 6 (Articles 192–197 Constitution) sets out the procedure for the revision of the Constitution. One key requirement is that the people and the cantons must agree on any proposed revision. A revision can be initiated by the federal authorities or the people (popular initiative). Title 6 also contains transitional provisions.

    In addition to the relevance of the Constitution itself, constitutional law and practice in Switzerland is influenced by international law, which often encompasses rules of constitutional relevance. A prime example of this is the influence of international human rights guarantees, as well as some of the bilateral agreements that Switzerland has concluded with the EU. Interpreting Swiss law, including the Constitution, in conformity with international law is a well-established method of interpretation, supplementing the classical canon of methods of interpretation. However, although Switzerland as a country has traditionally taken a friendly, inclusive approach towards international law, the Constitution continues to follow the introverted tradition of constitutionalism and fails to properly reflect Switzerland’s participation in global and European organisations and treaty networks.4

    2. PEOPLE

    Switzerland has 8’400’000 inhabitants. 6’300’000 of these inhabitants are Swiss citizens. The others – i.e. 25 % of the population – are foreign nationals (not including asylum seekers); a very significant proportion. Moreover, more than 300’000 persons commute across the borders to and from Switzerland, often on a daily basis. 770’000 Swiss citizens live abroad.


    Citizenship in Switzerland is based on the concept that a citizen has three citizenships: communal, cantonal, and Swiss (Article 37 Constitution). These citizenships are connected: in particular, cantonal and communal citizenships are prerequisites of Swiss citizenship. It is permitted to have dual citizenship under Swiss law, i.e. to possess Swiss citizenship in addition to the citizenship of another country.

    Citizenship can be acquired by law or by naturalisation. The prerequisites for the acquisition are defined partly by federal law (which mainly just lays out the minimum requirements) and partly by cantonal law (Article 38 Constitution). With respect to federal law, the Federal Act on Swiss Citizenship (Swiss Citizenship Act) is relevant:

    -Swiss citizenship is acquired by law, i.e. automatically, by children who have one parent with Swiss citizenship (Article 1 Swiss Citizenship Act).5 These children also attain the Swiss parent’s cantonal and communal citizenship (Article 2 Swiss Citizenship Act). Thereby, Switzerland follows the principle of ius sanguinis. A child who is adopted will also acquire Swiss citizenship, from the adopting Swiss parent (Article 4 Swiss Citizenship Act).

    -Swiss citizenship is acquired by naturalisation, i.e. by an official decree, when an applicant fulfils the relevant requirements stipulated by federal and cantonal law (Articles 9–19 Swiss Citizenship Act). With respect to federal law, the requirements are that an applicant must demonstrate that he or she has been successfully integrated into the Swiss society (requiring, inter alia, to respect the values of the Swiss Constitution and to be able to communicate in one of the national languages), is accustomed to the Swiss way of life and does not endanger the internal or external security of Switzerland, and that he or she has resided in Switzerland for a certain period of time (ten years for adults). For cantons to approve naturalisation, which is also necessary for Swiss citizenship, it is usually required that an applicant speaks one of the canton’s official languages and that he or she has resided in the canton and commune for a certain period of time (which shall not exceed five years according to Article 18 Swiss Citizenship Act). In various cantons, the decision to grant citizenship has traditionally been taken by communal assemblies or, even more problematically in terms of affording sufficient respect to such individuals’ fundamental rights, by the electorate in secret ballot votes.6 A simplified procedure for naturalisation applies to certain foreign nationals, in particular to spouses of Swiss citizens. In 2017, the people and the cantons voted in favour of a new constitutional provision which mandates that the federal authorities shall enact simplified regulations on the naturalisation of third generation immigrants (Article 38 III Constitution).

    Swiss citizenship is the prerequisite for various rights and duties. On the federal level, the following are the most relevant:

    -Swiss citizens over the age of 18 enjoy numerous political rights. They have the right to participate in elections to the National Council and in popular votes (initiatives and referenda) and to launch or sign initiatives and requests for referenda (Article 136 Constitution). Swiss citizens benefit from the freedom of domicile in Switzerland (Article 24 Constitution), from the protection against expulsion, extradition and deportation (Article 25 Constitution) and from diplomatic protection abroad.

    -Swiss men have a duty to render military service. For women, military service is possible but voluntary (Article 59 Constitution).

    Swiss citizenship can be lost by law, i.e. automatically, or by official decree. It is lost by law, for instance, when a Swiss citizen was born and has lived abroad, possesses another citizenship and does not declare that he or she wants to maintain the Swiss citizenship by the time he or she reaches the age of 26 (Article 7 Swiss Citizenship Act). It is lost by an official decree, for instance, when a Swiss citizen who also possesses another citizenship seriously violates the interests or reputation of Switzerland (Article 42 Swiss Citizenship Act). These rules are adherent to the international principle that statelessness shall be avoided.

    b)Foreign Nationals

    As briefly mentioned above, Switzerland has traditionally been a country with a high percentage of people who live and work in the country but do not possess Swiss citizenship. Various factors might explain this. Firstly, the economic prosperity of the country has led to a high demand for manpower from abroad. Moreover, the fact that EU citizens in Switzerland enjoy substantial rights based on the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the EU reduces the incentive for such people to be naturalised. Finally, the restrictive naturalisation policy in Switzerland means that even persons who have lived in the country for decades may not necessarily meet the requirements for naturalisation.

    Article 121 Constitution confers the legislative competence for matters of immigration and asylum to the federal authorities. Based upon this conferral, the Federal Act on Foreigners regulates entry to, residence in and departure from the country.

    Over the last few decades, various popular initiatives have aimed at forcing the federal authorities to implement a more restrictive policy vis-à-vis foreign nationals.7 For example, in 2010, the people and the cantons approved the initiative “for the expulsion of criminal foreign nationals” (“Für die Ausschaffung krimineller Ausländer”). This initiative stated that foreign nationals who commit one of the enumerated crimes – such as homicide, rape and robbery – or even those who have improperly claimed social insurance or social assistance benefits will lose the right of residence automatically and must be deported (Article 121 III-VI Constitution). The Federal Assembly did not implement the initiative literally as such an implementation would have been incompatible with international law guarantees; in particular, it included a hardship clause – a clause which allows for flexibility to be applied when the expulsion would result in a severe personal hardship and the private interests of the foreign national to stay in Switzerland prevail over the public interests to expulse him or her. In response to this legislation, another popular initiative was launched; it was entitled “enforcing the expulsion of criminal foreign nationals” (“Zur Durchsetzung der Ausschaffung krimineller Ausländer”) and demanded a strict implementation of the original initiative. However, the people and the cantons rejected this call for strict implementation in 2016. Another popular initiative dealing with immigration was entitled “against mass immigration” (“Gegen Masseneinwanderung”) and was approved by the people and cantons in 2014. This initiative stipulates that Switzerland shall control the immigration of foreign nationals autonomously, by introducing annual quotas and granting Swiss citizens priority on the job market (Articles 121a and 197 No 11 Constitution). These provisions, read together, are obviously directed against the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between the EU and Switzerland, although they do not explicitly refer to this agreement, let alone mandate the government to terminate it. The Federal Assembly decided to implement the initiative in a way that ensured it would not violate the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons.8

    Foreign nationals do not enjoy political rights on the federal level. This is problematic, because these people – 25 % of the population, paying taxes as Swiss citizens do – are henceforth excluded from the democratic process. It should be noted, however, that some cantons and communes do grant political rights to foreign nationals. For example, the cantons of Jura and Neuchâtel grant foreign nationals, under certain conditions, the right to vote at cantonal and communal levels.


    The Constitution contains an impressive catalogue of fundamental rights, starting with human dignity and followed by all the rights which are usually found in modern European constitutions: equality before the law; the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of, inter alia, origin, race, gender and age; the protection against arbitrariness; protection of good faith; civil liberties and freedoms; political rights; basic procedural rights and basic social rights (Articles 7–34 Constitution).

    Article 35 Constitution mandates that fundamental rights must be respected throughout the entire legal system. Individuals can invoke them against state authorities. Further, private persons are bound by fundamental rights when they exercise a state function. Finally, fundamental rights must be taken into account by the state, where appropriate, in regulating relationships between individuals. This includes the obligation to draft new laws, and interpret existing laws, in light of fundamental rights (so-called indirect third-party effect). For instance, marriage and family law is to be shaped and interpreted in light of the right to marry and to have a family (Article 14 Constitution). Article 36 Constitution makes it clear that guaranteed rights do not apply in an absolute manner. Restrictions are lawful as long as they fulfil all of the following conditions: they have a legal basis, are justified by a public interest, are proportionate and do not violate the essence of the right in question.

    In addition to the federal Constitution, fundamental rights are guaranteed in cantonal constitutions and in international treaties:

    -The constitutions of the cantons also contain fundamental rights. In some cases, they go beyond what is guaranteed by the federal Constitution. For instance, the Constitution of the Canton of Zurich guarantees, in Article 15, the right to found, to organise and to attend private educational institutions.

    -International treaties are highly relevant for the protection of fundamental rights in Switzerland. First and foremost, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has been attributed a quasi-constitutional status by the Federal Supreme Court.9 Other international treaties complement the protection guaranteed by the ECHR, such as the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Moreover, the comparative law method of interpretation has traditionally been instrumental in further developing fundamental rights in Switzerland; in particular, law and practice in Germany, the United States and the EU has markedly influenced developments in the protection of fundamental rights in Switzerland.

    The Federal Supreme Court has not hesitated to recognise fundamental rights which were not explicitly provided for in the Constitution of 1848 or 1874, thereby recognising the existence and enforceability of unwritten rights. Examples include freedom of expression (now Article 16 Constitution), freedom of assembly (now Article 22 Constitution) and the right to assistance when in need (now Article 12 Constitution).10 It is conceivable that in the future the Federal Supreme Court might again recognise guarantees which are not (yet) enshrined in the Constitution, if such a step appears prudent in light of new challenges and threats.

    Individuals can directly invoke fundamental rights which are guaranteed by the federal Constitution before administrative authorities and courts. For example, this can be done in cases where cantonal laws and decisions are being reviewed. Similarly, it is possible to challenge decisions based on federal ordinances as to their compatibility with fundamental rights. However, the limit to this review comes in the form of Article 190 Constitution, which mandates that the Federal Supreme Court and the other judicial authorities apply federal acts and international law. This precludes any possibility for the courts to declare federal acts invalid if they are shown to be incompatible with fundamental rights guaranteed by the federal Constitution.11


    Federalism is a basic constitutional principle in Switzerland. The competences and responsibilities are vertically distributed over the three levels of government, namely the federation, the cantons and the communes (municipalities). The latter enjoy considerable autonomy in regulating their own affairs, profiting from the principle of subsidiarity (Article 5a Constitution), which dictates that the Confederation only interferes with regulation if the cantons or communes are unable to regulate a particular matter themselves. It is partly thanks to this arrangement that the identity-creating societal, linguistic and cultural diversity throughout the country is preserved. The people are also encouraged to actively participate in political debates and decision-making on the cantonal and communal level. Further, the federal bicameral parliamentary system ensures that the cantons participate in the law-making process on the federal level.12 They are also involved in the process of revising the federal Constitution; a revision must not only be approved of by a majority of the people but also by a majority of the cantons.

    Overall, the above arrangements ensure that the Swiss federal system displays a unique “bottom-up” character.13 Simultaneously, however, it is acknowledged that the federal level and the cantons shall cooperate and support each other in the fulfilment of their duties (Article 44 Constitution). An essential element in achieving this goal is the use of national equalisation payments, both between the individual cantons and between the federation and the cantons. These payments contribute to the promotion of internal cohesion (Article 2 II Constitution). In 2017, they amounted to almost CHF 5 billion.14

    The following paragraphs describe characteristic features of the three levels of government:

    -The federation is composed of both the people and the cantons (Article 1 Constitution). The federal level enjoys the competences which are assigned to it by the Constitution (Article 42 Constitution). They are enumerated largely in Articles 54–125 Constitution. Federal law takes precedence over cantonal and communal law (Article 49 Constitution). This remains the case even where the Federal Assembly passes acts which, according to the Constitution, are not within its competence.15

    -The second level of government is formed by the 26 Cantons (23 cantons, six half-cantons).16 As mentioned, it was the Canton of Jura that became the 26th canton in 1978; its territory had formerly been part of the Canton of Bern. Attempts to merge the two half-cantons of Basel Stadt and Basel Landschaft into one canton have been unsuccessful; in 2014, the people of Basel Stadt voted strongly in favour of such a merger, but the people of Basel Landschaft strongly rejected it. Zurich is the canton with the biggest population, with 1’460’000 inhabitants, while the Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden is the smallest, counting just 16’000 inhabitants. Despite differences in size and population, all cantons are equal in respect of their legal status, with the exception that half-cantons have only one seat in the Council of Cantons (Article 150 Constitution) and count only as half a canton when a majority of the cantons is required for a revision of the Constitution (Article 142 Constitution). The cantons possess all competences which have not been assigned to the federal level (Articles 3 and 42 Constitution), including the implementation of federal law (Article 46 Constitution). They enjoy considerable autonomy in organising themselves and regulating their own affairs; the federal level ensures that the cantons have sufficient financial resources to do so (Article 47 Constitution). Cantons are also able to conclude inter-cantonal agreements between themselves (Article 48 Constitution).17

    -The third level of government is made up of some 2’290 communes. The number is declining due to an ongoing trend where communes merge in order to carry out tasks more efficiently. As with cantons, the population and size of the communes differs greatly. The Commune of Zurich is the biggest, counting almost 400’000 inhabitants; the Commune of Bister (Canton of Valais) is the smallest, counting only 31 inhabitants. The autonomy of the communes is explicitly guaranteed, although the scope of this autonomy is ultimately determined by the cantons (Article 50 Constitution). Within the limits of their autonomy, the communes organise decision-making in communal matters – such as local taxes, local police, primary education and planning of land use – themselves.

    Over the last few decades, the federal system has increasingly come under pressure in various ways. First, there has been an ongoing shift of competences from the cantons to the federal level, resulting in an increased burden of responsibilities for the federation.18 Second, the increasing tendency to take recourse to international treaties often results in a tacit neutralisation of cantonal competences. Various bilateral agreements with the EU are examples of this, such as the harmonisation of the mutual recognition of professional qualifications based on the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. Accordingly, consultation and cooperation between the different layers of government is even more important today than in the past, in order to ensure that the cantons can have some influence over the conclusion of treaties which may affect their powers. Third, the principle that all cantons have an equal standing in votes on the revision of the Constitution does not quite fit with the principle that all Swiss citizens are equal and have only one vote. A citizen of the Canton of Uri possesses a voting power which is 35 times weightier than the voting power of a citizen of the Canton of Zurich. As problematic as it might be, this inequality is an inevitable consequence of the deliberate choice to create Switzerland as a federation, consisting of both the people and the cantons.


    The federal level is organised in order to guarantee the classic principle of the separation of powers between the different branches of government (checks and balances). The composition and functions of the Federal Assembly, the Federal Council (including the federal administration), and the Federal Supreme Court and other federal judicial authorities are as follows:19

    -The Federal Assembly is the legislature (Articles 148–173 Constitution). It is a bicameral parliament, consisting of the National Council and the Council of States. The National Council has 200 members, representing the people. The seats are allocated to the cantons in proportion to their population. Currently, the Canton of Zurich has 35 seats, while six cantons, including the Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, to name but one, have the minimum of one seat. In each canton, the elections operate through the system of proportional representation. The Council of States consists of 46 members, i.e. two delegates from each canton (whereby half-cantons delegate one person), whose role is to represent their cantons. The election of the cantonal delegates is governed by cantonal law; in most cantons, majority voting applies. The term of office for both chambers is four years; re-elections are possible. The two chambers are equal and have similar powers. In particular, both chambers must agree on the enactment of federal acts and the conclusion of international treaties, as well as on the proposed budget. The members of both chambers act together, as the United Federal Assembly, when they elect the members of the Federal Council, the members of the Federal Supreme Court and, in times of war, the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

    -The Federal Council is the highest governing and executive authority (Articles 174–187 Constitution). It consists of seven members (councillors) who are elected individually by the Federal Assembly for a term of four years. In 2013, the people and the cantons rejected the initiative “popular election of the Federal Council” (“Volkswahl des Bundesrates”) which tried to demand that councillors be elected directly by the people. Re-elections are possible and usually occur as a matter of routine; there have only been four instances in which councillors have not been re-elected since 1848.20 The various geographical and linguistic regions of the country should be appropriately represented, which usually is the case. Moreover, all major political parties are represented, based on a tacit agreement between the major parties.21 One of the councillors acts as “President of the Confederation”, chairing Federal Council meetings and fulfilling representation duties in the country and abroad for a term of one year, acting as primus or prima inter pares (first among equals). The Federal Council takes its decisions as a collective body, endorsing the principle of collegiality. It directs the federal administration whereby each councillor heads one of the seven Departments (Department of Foreign Affairs; Department of Home Affairs; Department of Justice and Police; Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport; Department of Finance; Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research; Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications). The Federal Council decides on the objectives of government policy, thereby deploying political leadership. It submits drafts of federal acts to the Federal Assembly, enacts ordinances and is responsible for foreign relations.

    -The Federal Supreme Court is the supreme judicial authority of Switzerland (Articles 188–191c Constitution). Currently, it consists of 38 full-time judges and 19 part-times judges. They are elected by the United Federal Assembly for a term of six years; re-election is possible and, if attempted, is regularly achieved. The court is divided up into seven divisions: two divisions of public law, two divisions of social security law, two divisions of private law, and one division of criminal law. It acts upon appeal, hearing cases which have been decided either by the highest cantonal courts or by other federal courts, i.e. the Federal Criminal Court, the Federal Administrative Court and the Federal Patent Court.22 The independence of the courts is constitutionally guaranteed.

    The members of the Federal Assembly, the Federal Council and the Federal Supreme Court are generally members of political parties. In the Federal Assembly, the most powerful parties are the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) with 70 seats, the Social Democratic Party (SPS) with 56 seats, the Liberals (FDP) with 45 seats and the Christian Democratic People’s Party (CVP) with 40 seats. These four parties are also represented in the Federal Council.23 The federal judges are also elected on the basis of party membership. The combination of the judges’ party membership with the relatively short term of office of six years for federal judges means that they are under more scrutiny than judges in other jurisdictions, where judges may have longer terms of office but no possibility of facing periodic re-elections.

    The city of Bern is the capital of Switzerland. This city is home to numerous official activities: the Federal Assembly meets here, and the official seat of the Federal Council and the departments is also in Bern. The Federal Supreme Court is located in Lausanne, while its two social security law divisions are located in the city of Lucerne.

    1THOMAS FLEINER/ALEXANDER MISIC/NICOLE TÖPPERWIEN, Constitutional Law in Switzerland, 2nd edition, Alphen aan den Rijn 2012, n. 13; WALTER HALLER, The Swiss Constitution in a Comparative Context, 2nd edition, Zurich/St. Gallen 2016, n. 2, n. 20 et. seq.

    2See below, pp. 159.

    3Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of 18 April 1999, SR 101; see for an English version of the Swiss Constitution (

    4See the chapter on International Relations, pp. 163.

    5Federal Act on Swiss Citizenship of 20 June 2014 (Swiss Citizenship Act, SCA), SR 141.0; see for an English version of the Swiss Citizenship Act (

    6See pp. 160.

    7See for popular initiatives in general pp. 151.

    8See the chapter on International Relations, p. 177.

    9BGE 117 Ib 367.

    10BGE 87 I 114; BGE 96 I 219; BGE 121 I 367.

    11See pp. 156.

    12See pp. 148.

    13HALLER, n. 92; s. also FLEINER/MISIC/TÖPPERWIEN, n. 289.

    14Federal Department of Finance, Factsheet: National Fiscal Equalization (NFA), 2017 (

    15See pp. 156 for the lack of constitutional review of federal acts.

    16The six half-cantons are Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden; Basel Stadt and Basel Landschaft; and Obwalden and Nidwalden. They are known as “half-cantons” because they originated from internal divisions in three cantons; Appenzell, Basel and Unterwalden.

    17See, for example, the chapter on Criminal Procedure, p. 399.

    18HALLER, n. 65.

    19See for two particularities, namely the right of the people to have the last word on federal acts and international treaties and the Federal Council’s organisation as a multi-party collegiate body, pp. 151 and pp. 155.

    20HALLER, n. 300.

    21See pp. 155.

    22See pp. 156 for the limited extent of constitutional review in Switzerland.

    23See pp. 151.

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