Switzerland 1999 Constitution (reviewed 2014)

Table of Contents


In the name of Almighty God!

The Swiss People and the Cantons,

mindful of their responsibility towards creation,

resolved to renew their alliance so as to strengthen liberty, democracy, independence and peace in a spirit of solidarity and openness towards the world,

determined to live together with mutual consideration and respect for their diversity,

conscious of their common achievements and their responsibility towards future generations,

and in the knowledge that only those who use their freedom remain free, and that the strength of a people is measured by the well-being of its weakest members;

adopt the following Constitution:

Title One. General Provisions

Article 1. The Swiss Confederation

The People and the Cantons of Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden, Glarus, Zug, Fribourg, Solothurn, Basel Stadt and Basel Landschaft, Schaffhausen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden, St. Gallen, Graubünden, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, Geneva, and Jura form the Swiss Confederation.

Article 2. Aims

  1. The Swiss Confederation shall protect the liberty and rights of the people and safeguard the independence and security of the country.
  2. It shall promote the common welfare, sustainable development, internal cohesion and cultural diversity of the country.
  3. It shall ensure the greatest possible equality of opportunity among its citizens.
  4. It is committed to the long term preservation of natural resources and to a just and peaceful international order.

Article 3. Cantons

The Cantons are sovereign except to the extent that their sovereignty is limited by the Federal Constitution. They exercise all rights that are not vested in the Confederation.

Article 4. National languages

The National Languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

Article 5. Rule of law

  1. All activities of the state are based on and limited by law.
  2. State activities must be conducted in the public interest and be proportionate to the ends sought.
  3. State institutions and private persons shall act in good faith.
  4. The Confederation and the Cantons shall respect international law.

Article 5a. Subsidiarity

The principle of subsidiarity must be observed in the allocation and performance of state tasks.

Article 6. Individual and collective responsibility

All individuals shall take responsibility for themselves and shall, according to their abilities, contribute to achieving the tasks of the state and society.

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