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The seven members of the Swiss Federal Council (German: Schweizerischer Bundesrat; French: Conseil fédéral suisse; Italian: Consiglio federale svizzero; Romansh: Cussegl federal svizzer) constitute the federal government of Switzerland and collectively serve as the country's head of state. Each of the seven Federal Councillors heads a department of the Swiss federal administration.
The current Swiss Federal Councillors are: Alain Berset (first elected in 2011), Guy Parmelin (first elected in 2015), Ignazio Cassis (first elected in 2017), Viola Amherd (first elected in 2018), Karin Keller-Sutter (first elected in 2018), Albert Rösti (first elected in 2022), and Élisabeth Baume-Schneider (first elected in 2022)
The members of the Federal Council are elected for a term of four years by both chambers of the federal parliament sitting together as the United Federal Assembly. Each Federal Councillor is elected individually by secret ballot by an absolute majority of votes. People elected to the Federal Council are considered a Federal Councillor even if they decline the election. Accordingly, the five persons who were elected but never assumed office are listed in a separate table below. For the same reason, the principal table only records the date of election and not the date on which the Federal Councillors assumed their office.
Once elected for a four-year-term, Federal Councillors can neither be voted out of office by a motion of no confidence nor can they be impeached. Reelection is possible for an indefinite number of terms. The Federal Assembly has decided not to reelect a sitting Federal Councillor four times and only twice (in 2003 and 2007) since the beginning of the 20th century. In practice, therefore, Federal Councillors serve until they decide to resign and retire to private life, usually after three to five terms of office.
|№||Name||Portrait||Canton||Election||Left office||Department headed||Party||Presidency||Notes||Seq|
|1||Jonas Furrer||ZH||16 November 1848||25 July 1861||Political • Justice and Police||FDP/PRD||1848–1849
|Died in office.||A01|
|2||Ulrich Ochsenbein||BE||16 November 1848||6 December 1854||Military||FDP/PRD||—||Not reelected.||B01|
|3||Henri Druey||VD||16 November 1848||29 March 1855||Justice and Police • Political • Finance||FDP/PRD||1850||Died in office.||C01|
|4||Josef Munzinger||SO||16 November 1848||6 February 1855||Finance • Political • Posts and Construction • Trade and Customs||FDP/PRD||1851||Died in office.||D01|
|5||Stefano Franscini||TI||16 November 1848||19 July 1857||Home Affairs||FDP/PRD||—||Died in office.||E01|
|6||Friedrich Frey-Herosé||AG||16 November 1848||31 December 1866||Trade and Customs • Political • Military||FDP/PRD||1854
|7||Wilhelm Matthias Naeff||SG||16 November 1848||31 December 1875||Posts and Construction • Political • Trade and Customs • Posts • Finance and Customs • Railway and Trade||FDP/PRD||1853||G01|
|8||Jakob Stämpfli||BE||6 December 1854||31 December 1863||Justice and Police • Political • Finance • Military||FDP/PRD||1856
|9||Constant Fornerod||VD||11 July 1855||31 October 1867||Trade and Customs • Political • Finance • Military||FDP/PRD||1857
|10||Melchior Josef Martin Knüsel||LU||14 July 1855||31 December 1875||Finance • Trade and Customs • Justice and Police • Political • Home Affairs||FDP/PRD||1861
|Elected after Johann Jakob Stehlin declined the election.||D02|
|11||Giovanni Battista Pioda||TI||30 July 1857||26 January 1864||Home Affairs||FDP/PRD||—||E02|
|12||Jakob Dubs||ZH||30 July 1861||28 May 1872||Justice and Police • Political • Home Affairs • Posts||FDP/PRD||1864
|13||Karl Schenk||BE||12 December 1863||18 July 1895||Home Affairs • Political • Finance • Railway and Trade||FDP/PRD||1865
|Died in office. Longest serving member.||B03|
|14||Jean-Jacques Challet-Venel||GE||12 July 1864||7 December 1872||Finance • Posts||FDP/PRD||—||Not reelected.||E03|
|15||Emil Welti||AG||8 December 1866||31 December 1891||Military • Political • Posts and Telegraph • Justice and Police||FDP/PRD||1869
|16||Victor Ruffy||VD||6 December 1867||29 December 1869||Finance • Military||FDP/PRD||—||Died in office.||C03|
|17||Paul Cérésole||VD||1 February 1870||31 December 1875||Finance • Military • Political • Justice and Police||FDP/PRD||1873||C04|
|18||Johann Jakob Scherer||ZH||12 July 1872||23 December 1878||Finance • Railway and Trade • Political • Military||FDP/PRD||1875||Died in office.||A03|
|19||Eugène Borel||NE||7 December 1872||31 December 1875||Posts and Telegraph||FDP/PRD||—||E04|
|20||Joachim Heer||GL||10 December 1875||31 December 1878||Posts and Telegraph • Political • Railway and Trade||FDP/PRD||1877||D03|
|21||Fridolin Anderwert||TG||10 December 1875||25 December 1880||Justice and Police||FDP/PRD||—||Died in office
|22||Bernhard Hammer||SO||10 December 1875||31 December 1890||Finance and Customs • Political||FDP/PRD||1879
|23||Numa Droz||NE||18 December 1875||18 December 1892||Home Affairs • Trade and Agriculture • Political||FDP/PRD||1881
|Elected after Louis Ruchonnet and Charles Estoppey declined the election.||C05|
|24||Simeon Bavier||GR||10 December 1878||5 January 1883||Finance and Customs • Posts and Railways • Political||FDP/PRD||1882||D04|
|25||Wilhelm Hertenstein||ZH||21 March 1879||27 November 1888||Military||FDP/PRD||1888||Died in office.||A04|
|26||Louis Ruchonnet||VD||3 March 1881||14 September 1893||Trade and Agriculture • Justice and Police • Political||FDP/PRD||1883
|Elected after Karl Hoffmann declined his election. Died in office.||G03|
|27||Adolf Deucher||TG||10 April 1883||10 July 1912||Justice and Police • Posts and Railways • Trade and Agriculture • Political||FDP/PRD||1886
|Died in office.||D05|
|28||Walter Hauser||ZH||13 December 1888||22 October 1902||Military • Finance and Customs • Political||FDP/PRD||1892
|Died in office.||A05|
|29||Emil Frey||BL||11 December 1890||11 March 1897||Military||FDP/PRD||1894||E06|
|30||Josef Zemp||LU||17 December 1891||17 June 1908||Posts and Railways • Political||CVP/PDC||1895
|31||Adrien Lachenal||GE||15 December 1892||31 December 1899||Exterior • Trade, Industry and Agriculture • Home Affairs||FDP/PRD||1896||C06|
|32||Eugène Ruffy||VD||14 December 1893||31 October 1899||Justice and Police • Home Affairs • Political • Military||FDP/PRD||1898||G04|
|33||Eduard Müller||BE||16 August 1895||9 November 1919||Justice and Police • Military • Political||FDP/PRD||1899
|Died in office.||B04|
|34||Ernst Brenner||BS||25 March 1897||11 March 1911||Justice and Police • Political||FDP/PRD||1901
|Died in office.||E07|
|35||Robert Comtesse||NE||14 December 1899||4 March 1912||Finance and Customs • Justice and Police • Posts and Railways • Political||FDP/PRD||1904
|36||Marc-Émile Ruchet||VD||14 December 1899||9 July 1912||Home Affairs • Finance and Customs • Political||FDP/PRD||1905
|37||Ludwig Forrer||ZH||11 December 1902||7 December 1917||Trade, Industry and Agriculture • Home Affairs • Political • Military • Justice and Police • Posts and Railways||FDP/PRD||1906
|38||Josef Anton Schobinger||LU||17 June 1908||27 November 1911||Justice and Police • Trade, Industry and Agriculture • Finance and Customs • Home Affairs||CVP/PDC||—||F04|
|39||Arthur Hoffmann||SG||4 April 1911||19 June 1917||Justice and Police • Military • Political||FDP/PRD||1914||E08|
|40||Giuseppe Motta||TI||14 December 1911||23 January 1940||Finance and Customs • Political||CVP/PDC||1915
|Died in office.||F05|
|41||Louis Perrier||NE||12 March 1912||16 May 1913||Posts and Railways • Home Affairs||FDP/PRD||—||C08|
|42||Camille Decoppet||VD||17 July 1912||7 November 1919||Home Affairs • Justice and Police • Military||FDP/PRD||1916||G06|
|43||Edmund Schulthess||AG||17 July 1912||15 April 1935||Trade, Industry and Agriculture||FDP/PRD||1917
|44||Felix Calonder||GR||12 June 1913||12 February 1920||Home Affairs • Political||FDP/PRD||1918||C09|
|45||Gustave Ador||GE||26 June 1917||31 December 1919||Political • Home Affairs||LPS/PLS||1919||E09|
|46||Robert Haab||ZH||13 December 1917||31 December 1929||Posts and Railways||FDP/PRD||1922
|47||Karl Scheurer||BE||11 December 1919||14 November 1929||Military||FDP/PRD||1923||Died in office.||B05|
|48||Ernest Chuard||VD||11 December 1919||31 December 1928||Home Affairs||FDP/PRD||1924||G07|
|49||Jean-Marie Musy||FR||11 December 1919||30 April 1934||Finance and Customs||CVP/PDC||1925
|50||Heinrich Häberlin||TG||12 February 1920||12 March 1934||Justice and Police||FDP/PRD||1926
|51||Marcel Pilet-Golaz||VD||13 December 1928||7 November 1944||Home Affairs • Posts and Railways • Political||FDP/PRD||1934
|52||Rudolf Minger||BE||12 December 1929||31 December 1940||Military||SVP/UDC||1935||B06|
|53||Albert Meyer||ZH||12 December 1929||31 December 1938||Home Affairs • Finance and Customs||FDP/PRD||1936||A08|
|54||Johannes Baumann||AR||22 March 1934||31 December 1940||Justice and Police||FDP/PRD||1938||C11|
|55||Philipp Etter||ZG||28 March 1934||19 November 1959||Home Affairs||CVP/PDC||1939
|56||Hermann Obrecht||SO||4 April 1935||20 June 1940||Economic Affairs||FDP/PRD||—||D07|
|57||Ernst Wetter||ZH||15 December 1938||31 December 1943||Finance and Customs||FDP/PRD||1941||A09|
|58||Enrico Celio||TI||22 February 1940||23 June 1950||Posts and Railways||CVP/PDC||1943
|59||Walther Stampfli||SO||18 July 1940||18 November 1947||Economic Affairs||FDP/PRD||1944||D08|
|60||Eduard von Steiger||BE||10 December 1940||9 November 1951||Justice and Police||SVP/UDC||1945
|61||Karl Kobelt||SG||10 December 1940||5 November 1954||Military||FDP/PRD||1946
|62||Ernst Nobs||ZH||15 December 1943||13 November 1951||Finance and Customs||SPS/PSS||1949||A10|
|63||Max Petitpierre||NE||14 December 1944||30 June 1961||Political||FDP/PRD||1950
|64||Rodolphe Rubattel||VD||11 December 1947||1 November 1954||Economic Affairs||FDP/PRD||1954||D09|
|65||Josef Escher||VS||14 September 1950||26 November 1954||Posts and Railways||CVP/PDC||—||F07|
|66||Markus Feldmann||BE||13 December 1951||3 November 1958||Justice and Police||SVP/UDC||1956||B08|
|67||Max Weber||ZH||13 December 1951||8 December 1953||Finance and Customs||SPS/PSS||—||A11|
|68||Hans Streuli||ZH||22 December 1953||19 November 1959||Finance and Customs||FDP/PRD||1957||A12|
|69||Thomas Holenstein||SG||16 December 1954||20 November 1959||Economic Affairs||CVP/PDC||1958||F08|
|70||Paul Chaudet||VD||16 December 1954||28 November 1966||Military||FDP/PRD||1959
|71||Giuseppe Lepori||TI||16 December 1954||24 November 1959||Posts and Railways||CVP/PDC||—||C13|
|72||Friedrich Traugott Wahlen||BE||11 December 1958||31 December 1965||Justice and Police • Economic Affairs • Political||SVP/UDC||1961||B09|
|73||Jean Bourgknecht||FR||17 December 1959||3 September 1962||Finance and Research||CVP/PDC||—||E12|
|74||Willy Spühler||ZH||17 December 1959||31 January 1970||Posts and Railways • Political||SPS/PSS||1963
|75||Ludwig von Moos||OW||17 December 1959||31 December 1971||Justice and Police||CVP/PDC||1964
|76||Hans-Peter Tschudi||BS||17 December 1959||31 December 1973||Home Affairs||SPS/PSS||1965
|77||Hans Schaffner||AG||15 June 1961||31 December 1969||Economic Affairs||FDP/PRD||1966||G10|
|78||Roger Bonvin||VS||27 September 1962||31 December 1973||Finance and Customs • Transport, Energy, Communications||CVP/PDC||1967
|79||Rudolf Gnägi||BE||8 December 1965||31 December 1979||Transport, Energy, Communications • Military||SVP/UDC||1971
|80||Nello Celio||TI||15 December 1966||31 December 1973||Military • Finance and Customs||FDP/PRD||1972||D11|
|81||Pierre Graber||NE||10 December 1969||31 January 1978||Political||SPS/PSS||1975||A14|
|82||Ernst Brugger||ZH||10 December 1969||31 January 1978||Economic Affairs||FDP/PRD||1974||G11|
|83||Kurt Furgler||SG||8 December 1971||31 December 1986||Justice and Police • Economic Affairs||CVP/PDC||1977
|84||Willi Ritschard||SO||5 December 1973||3 October 1983||Transport, Energy, Communications • Finance||SPS/PSS||1978||Died in office.||C15|
|85||Hans Hürlimann||ZG||5 December 1973||31 December 1982||Home Affairs||CVP/PDC||1979||E14|
|86||Georges-André Chevallaz||VD||5 December 1973||31 December 1983||Finance and Customs • Military||FDP/PRD||1980||D12|
|87||Fritz Honegger||ZH||7 December 1977||31 December 1982||Economic Affairs||FDP/PRD||1982||G12|
|88||Pierre Aubert||NE||7 December 1977||31 December 1987||Political||SPS/PSS||1983
|89||Leon Schlumpf||GR||5 December 1979||31 December 1987||Transport, Energy, Communications||SVP/UDC||1984||B11|
|90||Alphons Egli||LU||8 December 1982||31 December 1986||Home Affairs||CVP/PDC||1986||E15|
|91||Rudolf Friedrich||ZH||8 December 1982||20 October 1984||Justice and Police||FDP/PRD||—||G13|
|92||Otto Stich||SO||7 December 1983||31 October 1995||Finance||SPS/PSS||1988
|93||Jean-Pascal Delamuraz||VD||7 December 1983||30 March 1998||Military • Economic Affairs||FDP/PRD||1989
|94||Elisabeth Kopp||ZH||2 October 1984||12 January 1989||Justice and Police||FDP/PRD||—||First female Federal Councillor.||G14|
|95||Arnold Koller||AI||10 December 1986||13 January 1999||Justice and Police • Military||CVP/PDC||1990
|96||Flavio Cotti||TI||10 December 1986||13 January 1999||Home Affairs • Foreign Affairs||CVP/PDC||1991
|97||René Felber||NE||9 December 1987||31 March 1993||Foreign Affairs||SPS/PSS||1992||A16|
|98||Adolf Ogi||BE||9 December 1987||31 December 2000||Transport, Energy, Communications • Military||SVP/UDC||1993
|99||Kaspar Villiger||LU||1 February 1989||31 December 2003||Military • Finance||FDP/PRD||1995
|100||Ruth Dreifuss||GE||10 March 1993||31 December 2002||Home Affairs||SPS/PSS||1999||Elected after Francis Matthey declined the election.||A17|
|101||Moritz Leuenberger||ZH||27 September 1995||1 November 2010||Transport, Energy, Communications||SPS/PSS||2001
|102||Pascal Couchepin||VS||11 March 1998||31 October 2009||Economic Affairs • Home Affairs||FDP/PRD||2003
|103||Ruth Metzler||AI||11 March 1999||31 December 2003||Justice and Police||CVP/PDC||—||Not reelected.||F12|
|104||Joseph Deiss||FR||11 March 1999||31 July 2006||Foreign Affairs • Economic Affairs||CVP/PDC||2004||E17|
|105||Samuel Schmid||BE||6 December 2000||31 December 2008||Defence, Civil Protection and Sport||SVP/UDC||2005||Switched to the BDP/PBD in 2008.||B13|
|106||Micheline Calmy-Rey||GE||4 December 2002||31 December 2011||Foreign Affairs||SPS/PSS||2007
|107||Christoph Blocher||ZH||10 December 2003||31 December 2007||Justice and Police||SVP/UDC||—||Not reelected.||F13|
|108||Hans-Rudolf Merz||AR||10 December 2003||1 November 2010||Finance||FDP/PRD||2009||G16|
|109||Doris Leuthard||AG||14 June 2006||31 December 2018||Economic Affairs • Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications||CVP/PDC||2010
|110||Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf||GR||12 December 2007||31 December 2015||Justice and Police • Finance||BDP/PBD||2012||First elected for the SVP/UDC, switched in 2008.||F14|
|111||Ueli Maurer||ZH||10 December 2008||31 December 2022||Defence, Civil Protection and Sport • Finance||SVP/UDC||2013
|112||Didier Burkhalter||NE||16 September 2009||31 October 2017||Home Affairs • Foreign Affairs||FDP/PLR||2014||D15|
|113||Simonetta Sommaruga||BE||22 September 2010||31 December 2022||Justice and Police • Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications||SPS/PSS||2015
|114||Johann Schneider-Ammann||BE||22 September 2010||31 December 2018||Economic Affairs||FDP/PLR||2016||G17|
|115||Alain Berset||FR||14 December 2011||Incumbent||Home Affairs||SPS/PSS||2018
|116||Guy Parmelin||VD||9 December 2015||Incumbent||Defence, Civil Protection and Sport • Economic Affairs, Education and Research||SVP/UDC||2021||F15|
|117||Ignazio Cassis||TI||20 September 2017||Incumbent||Foreign Affairs||FDP/PLR||2022||D16|
|118||Viola Amherd||VS||5 December 2018||Incumbent||Defence, Civil Protection and Sport||CVP/PDC||–||The CVP/PDC merged into The Centre in 2021.||E19|
|119||Karin Keller-Sutter||SG||5 December 2018||Incumbent||Justice and Police • Finance||FDP/PLR||–||G18|
|120||Albert Rösti||BE||7 December 2022||Incumbent||Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications||SVP/UDC||B15|
|121||Élisabeth Baume-Schneider||JU||7 December 2022||Incumbent||Justice and Police||SPS/PSS||C19|
Free Democratic Party (FDP/PRD) after 1894; previously a more or less coherent group of Liberals, Radicals and Democrats. In January 2009, it merged with the Liberal Party (LPS/PLS) and became FDP.The Liberals.
Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC)
Liberal Party (LPS/PLS); since January 2009, the party has merged with the Free Democratic Party (FDP/PRD) in order to form FDP.The Liberals.
Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC) after 1971; previously the Party of Farmers, Traders and Independents (BGB/PAI) and associated minor parties.
Social Democratic Party (SPS/PSS)
Conservative Democratic Party (BDP/PBD)
The Federal Councillors currently serving are indicated with bold type.
Members who declined their election
Five people have declined their election to the Federal Council by the Federal Assembly. Their number here is that of the Federal Councillor in the list above who was later elected in their place.
|(10)||Johann Jakob Stehlin||BS||11 July 1855||FDP/PRD|
|(23)||Louis Ruchonnet||VD||10 December 1875||FDP/PRD||Later elected as the 26th Councillor.|
|(23)||Charles Estoppey||VD||18 December 1875||FDP/PRD|
|(26)||Karl Hoffmann||SG||22 February 1881||FDP/PRD|
|(100)||Francis Matthey||NE||3 March 1993||SPS/PSS|
Notes and references
- Swiss Federal Constitution / Bundesverfassung (BV) / Constitution fédérale (Cst.) / Costituzione federale (Cost.) of 1999-02-07, SR/RS 101 (E·D·F·I), art. 177 (E·D·F·I).
- This is the prevailing reading of the relevant constitutional provision: Swiss Federal Constitution / Bundesverfassung (BV) / Constitution fédérale (Cst.) / Costituzione federale (Cost.) of 1999-02-07, SR/RS 101 (E·D·F·I), art. 175 (E·D·F·I).
- Federal Council in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
- For the abbreviations, see Data codes for Switzerland: Cantons. Up until 1987, the Federal Chancellery recorded the Councillors' legal place of origin. From 1987 on, the canton in which the Councillors live has been recorded, or, for councillors who were members of the Federal Assembly, the canton whose population they represented.
- The names of the federal departments have changed over the years. Generic names have been used as much as possible.
- The sequence number indicates to which of the seven seats (denoted by the letters A to G) the Councillor was elected.
- As President of the Confederation. The department used to be held by Councillors during the annually changing office of President of the Confederation.
- Ulrich Ochsenbein in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
- Philippe Chenaux: Jean-Jacques Challet (-Venel) in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2003-09-16.
- Fridolin Anderwert in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
- Franz Xaver Bischof: Ruth Metzler (-Arnold) in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2007-11-27.
- "Schmid announces resignation". Swissinfo. 12 November 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- "Blocher ousted by Swiss parliament". Swissinfo. 12 December 2007. Archived from the original on 26 December 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2008.
- Beginnings of the Free Democratic Party in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
- Federal Council in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
- Swiss Federal Chancellery. "The Swiss Confederation: A brief guide 2007". Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- Services of the Swiss Parliament. "Resultate der Wahlen des Bundesrats, der Bundeskanzler und des Generals" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- Swiss Federal Chancellery. "Chronological index of Federal Councillors". Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- Swiss Federal Chancellery. "Members of the Federal Council who declined election". Archived from the original on 3 February 2008. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- Church, Clive H. (2004). The Politics and Government of Switzerland. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-69277-2.