Federal Council: The Apex of Swiss Political Power

Federal Council: The Apex of Swiss Political Power

The Swiss Federal Council is at the top of Switzerland's power structure. The federal government of the Swiss Confederation is represented by this collective executive body of seven people.

Its distinct system of power sharing distinguishes it from many other nations where the executive branch is typically vested in a single person.

Seven individuals who each oversee a federal division akin to a ministry make up the Federal Council. The United Federal Assembly, which consists of representatives from the National Council and the Council of States, chooses the members for a four-year term. It is noteworthy that the Federal Council is made up of representatives from several big parties rather than being dominated by one, ensuring a wide range of political representation.

Switzerland, unlike many other nations, does not have a single head of state or prime minister. Instead, the state is led by all seven members of the Federal Council collectively, demonstrating the country's dedication to cooperative governance.


Collegiality and consensus are the guiding principles of the Federal Council. Regardless of tenure or the department they lead, every councilor has equal standing and all decisions are made collectively. For a year, one member holds the office of Confederation President, but this is primarily a ceremonial role with no real authority.

Each federal councilor is the head of a particular branch of government, in charge of crucial domains like defense, finances, foreign relations, justice, and more. They are in charge of creating policies, putting forth legislation, and running their respective departments. For the government to run smoothly and for policies to be implemented effectively, they cooperate and coordinate their efforts.


Switzerland's bicameral parliament, the Swiss Federal Assembly, is in charge of passing laws.

It has two chambers: the National Council, which represents the Swiss people, and the Council of States, which represents the cantons.

The larger of the two chambers is the National Council, which has 200 members. A proportional representation system is used to elect National Councilors every four years, reflecting Switzerland's diverse political landscape.

With 46 representatives from the cantons, the Council of States is smaller. With the exception of the half-cantons, which elect just one representative each, every canton, regardless of size or population, elects two representatives. With this structure, every region of the nation, regardless of size, will have an equal say at the federal level.

Together, these two houses of the Federal Assembly pass laws, ratify treaties, make financial decisions, and choose federal judges and members of the Federal Council. The two chambers' balance further demonstrates Switzerland's dedication to fairness and consensus, supporting the nation's longstanding democratic tradition.

Author: Pooyan Ghamari, Swiss Economist & Visionary 

LinkedIn icon for email signatures - free download 20x20px LinkedIn

Instagram icon for email signatures - free download 20x20px Instagram

Twitter icon for email signatures - free download 20x20px Twitter

YouTube icon for email signatures - free download 20x20px YouTube