The Federal Constitution
of 18 April 1999 (; ; ; ) is the third and current federal constitution
. It establishes the Swiss Confederation
as a federal republic
of 26 cantons
(states), contains a catalogue of individual
and popular rights (including the right to call for popular referenda on federal laws and constitutional amendments), delineates the responsibilities of the cantons and the Confederation and establishes the federal authorities of government.
The Constitution was adopted by popular vote on 18 April 1999. It replaced the prior federal constitution of 1874, which it was intended to bring up to date without changing it in substance.
The groundwork for today's Swiss Constitution was laid with the promulgation of the Constitution of 12 September 1848, which was influenced by the ideas of the French Revolution
. This constitution provided for the cantons' sovereignty, as long as this did not impinge on the Federal Constitution. This constitution was created in response to a 27-day civil war
, the Sonderbundskrieg
The Constitution of 1848 was partly revised in 1866, and wholly revised in 1874. This latter constitutional change introduced the referendum
at the federal level. Beginning in 1891, the constitution contained the "right of initiative
", under which a certain number of voters could make a request to amend a constitutional article, or even to introduce a new article into the constitution. Thus, partial revisions of... Read More