enacts legislative provisions in the form of federal acts or ordinances. Amendments
to the Federal Constitution must be put to the vote of the People and the
The Federal Constitution
bedrock of the Swiss Confederation. The People and the Cantons are the
gatekeepers of the Constitution. Parliament can draft amendments to the Federal
Consitution, but must put them to the vote of the People and the Cantons. People can
launch a popular initiative to amend the Constitution.
detail the provisions of the Constitution. They are enacted by Parliament, but
are subject to an optional referendum: If 50,000 eligible voters or eight
cantons request a referendum, the act is submitted to the People for a vote. A majority
of voters must approve the act for it to come into force.
complement the acts.
The Federal Council and the departments enact most of the ordinances, which are
issued without the participation of Parliament. In the case of an important ordinance,
the relevant parliamentary committee may request that a draft text be submitted
for consultation. Ordinances are not subject to referendums.