Switzerland 1999 Constitution (reviewed 2014)

Table of Contents

Title Three. Confederation, Cantons and Communes

Chapter 1. Relations between the Confederation and the Cantons

Section 1. Duties of the Confederation and the Cantons

Article 42. Duties of the Confederation

  1. The Confederation shall fulfil the duties that are assigned to it by Federal Constitution.
  2. [Repealed by the popular vote on 28 Nov. 2004, with effect from 1 Jan. 2008]

Article 43. Duties of the Cantons

The Cantons decide on the duties that they must fulfil within the scope of their powers.

Article 43a. Principles for the allocation and fulfilment of state tasks

  1. The Confederation only undertakes tasks that the Cantons are unable to perform or which require uniform regulation by the Confederation.
  2. The collective body that benefits from a public service bears the costs thereof.
  3. The collective body that bears the costs of a public service may decide on the nature of that service.
  4. Universally provided services must made be available to every person in a comparable manner.
  5. State tasks must be fulfilled economically and in accordance with demand.

Section 2. Cooperation between the Confederation and the Cantons

Article 44. Principles

  1. The Confederation and the Cantons shall support each other in the fulfilment of their duties and shall generally cooperate with each other.
  2. They owe each other a duty of consideration and support. They shall provide each other with administrative assistance and mutual judicial assistance.
  3. Disputes between Cantons or between Cantons and the Confederation shall wherever possible be resolved by negotiation or mediation.

Article 45. Participation in federal decision-making

  1. In the cases specified by the Federal Constitution, the Cantons shall participate in the federal decision making process, and in particular in the legislative process.
  2. The Confederation shall inform the Cantons of its intentions fully and in good time. It shall consult the Cantons where their interests are affected.

Article 46. Implementation of federal law

  1. The Cantons shall implement federal law in accordance with the Federal Constitution and federal legislation.
  2. The Confederation and the Cantons may together agree that the Cantons should achieve specific goals in the implementation of federal law and may to this end conduct programmes that receive financial support from the Confederation.
  3. The Confederation shall allow the Cantons all possible discretion to organise their own affairs and shall take account of cantonal particularities.

Article 47. Autonomy of the Cantons

  1. The Confederation shall respect the autonomy of the Cantons.
  2. It shall leave the Cantons sufficient tasks of their own and respect their organisational autonomy. It shall leave the Cantons with sufficient sources of finance and contribute towards ensuring that they have the financial resources required to fulfil their tasks.

Article 48. Intercantonal agreements

  1. The Cantons may enter into agreements with each other and establish common organisations and institutions. In particular, they may jointly undertake tasks of regional importance together.
  2. The Confederation may participate in such organisations or institutions within the scope of its powers.
  3. Agreements between Cantons must not be contrary to the law, to the interests of the Confederation or to the rights of other Cantons. The Confederation must be notified of such agreements.
  4. The Cantons may by intercantonal agreement authorise intercantonal bodies to issue legislative provisions that implement an intercantonal agreement, provided the agreement:
    1. has been approved under the same procedure that applies to other legislation;
    2. determines the basic content of the provisions.
  5. The Cantons shall comply with intercantonal law.

Article 48a. Declaration of general application and requirement of participation

  1. At the request of interested Cantons, the Confederation may declare intercantonal agreements to be generally binding or require Cantons to participate in intercantonal agreements in the following fields:
    1. the execution of criminal penalties and measures;
    2. school education in the matters specified in Article 62 paragraph 4;
    3. cantonal institutions of higher education;
    4. cultural institutions of supra-regional importance;
    5. waste management;
    6. waste water treatment;
    7. urban transport;
    8. advanced medical science and specialist clinics;
    9. institutions for the rehabilitation and care of invalids.
  2. A declaration of general application is made in the form of a federal decree.
  3. The law shall specify the requirements for a declaration of general application and for a participation requirement and regulate the procedure.

Article 49. Precedence of and compliance with federal law

  1. Federal law takes precedence over any conflicting provision of cantonal law.
  2. The Confederation shall ensure that the Cantons comply with federal law.

Section 3. Communes

Article 50

  1. The autonomy of the communes is guaranteed in accordance with cantonal law.
  2. The Confederation shall take account in its activities of the possible consequences for the communes.
  3. In doing so, it shall take account of the special position of the cities and urban areas as well as the mountain regions.

Section 4. Federal Guarantees

Article 51. Cantonal constitutions

  1. Each Canton shall adopt a democratic constitution. This requires the approval of the People and must be capable of being revised if the majority of those eligible to vote so request.
  2. Each cantonal constitution shall require the guarantee of the Confederation. The Confederation shall guarantee a constitution provided it is not contrary to federal law.

Article 52. Constitutional order

  1. The Confederation shall protect the constitutional order of the Cantons.
  2. It shall intervene when public order in a Canton is disrupted or under threat and the Canton in question is not able to maintain order alone or with the aid of other Cantons.

Article 53. Number and territory of the Cantons

  1. The Confederation shall protect the existence and territory of the Cantons.
  2. Any change in the number of Cantons requires the consent of the citizens and the Cantons concerned together with the consent of the People and the Cantons.
  3. Any change in territory between Cantons requires the consent both of the Cantons concerned and of their citizens as well as the approval of the Federal Assembly in the form of a Federal Decree.
  4. Inter-cantonal boundary adjustments may be made by agreement between the Cantons concerned.