Conseil d'Etat (Switzerland)

A cantonal government (French Conseil d'État, Italian Consiglio di Stato, Romansh Regenza chantunala ) is the government or executive of a canton of the Swiss Confederation. The rules vary from canton to canton, but also show many similarities.

Selection mode

A cantonal government is usually chosen every four years by the people. Exceptions are the cantons of Fribourg, Vaud and Geneva with five years and the Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden a year. The choice of the cantonal government mostly takes place simultaneously with the elections to the cantonal parliament. The term therefore usually corresponds to the legislature. Select the most cantons their government after the Majorzwahlsystem, i.e., personalities and not party lists are elected. In Ticino, on the other hand applies the proportional representation system; the same was the case until 2013 in the Canton train

In some cantons such as Bern, Schaffhausen, Solothurn and Ticino, the cantonal government by popular initiative which is required to submit to the people who are forced to premature withdrawal. Given the not -long four years term of office comes this law certainly too little importance.


The number of members is now in all cantons either five or seven members, down to the last quarter of the 20th century, some cantonal governments had nine members. The Chairman of the cantonal government generally not significantly broader powers than the other members of the government, but is merely a mostly elected on a year in office primus inter pares. As the Federal Council, the government at the national level, the cantonal governments follow the principle of collegiality.

As part of some that took place recently and recent amendments to the constitution of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Basel- City, Canton of Glarus, Vaud and Geneva, the term of office of the provincial government, however, on the whole term of office of the Governing Council, therefore, to four and five years, covers in the cantons; Appenzell Innerrhoden, Uri and train know a two-year solution.


For historical reasons, the name of Cantonal Governments and their members from canton to canton is different. In German-speaking Switzerland today dominates the term Government, in Romandie Conseil d'État, which is translated as Council of State.

For the Chairman or the Chairman prevails in rural German-speaking cantons the name Landammann ago, in municipal government president. For Landammann there is usually no female form; the term woman Landammann it's used. The feminine forms of government and the Councillor, as well as President of the Government, the Government of President, however, are common. The Canton of Lucerne knew with the terms Schultheiss and governors until 2007 still old historic names for the head of the Government Council or his deputy. In the Helvetic Republic, the usual management consisted of a government governor with the administration chamber, sub- governors in the districts as well as agents in the communities.

The ministries are called depending on the canton departments or directorates, the government councils as their chief directors, so for example, Director of Education or Department of Justice and Police Director, in the canton of Jura ministers ( the word " ministère " (" Ministry ") is not used, but instead " département ").

Canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden

An exception is the government of the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, called Ethics Committee. Its members wear this department dependent, historically derived titles that otherwise are partially nowhere common in Switzerland. The government is headed by the reigning Country Ammann. His deputy is the Resting Country Ammann, who replaces him after two years. Another Government is the governor. Among these three are the departments (ministries ), " economy ", " Education " and " Health and Welfare " divided by the Ethics Committee. The Head of the Department of Finance called treasurer. The Governor is about to land and forestry department, the owner of the Civil and Environmental Department and the state ensign of Justice, Police and Military Department. The latter are elected by the rural community directly in their function.


The naming of the cantons is done in the official order (pursuant to Article 1 of the Bunderverfassung and Canton number). The list is sortable with JavaScript enabled.

Right of recall

Since the 19th century can be dismissed prematurely in several cantons by a popular initiative according to the principles of the Democratic movement, the cantonal government. This law is in effect to little importance, since the ordinary legislative sessions are filled with mostly four years is not excessive. Several initiatives have been because only very rarely taken and failed every time in the popular vote.

The signature numbers needed are:

  • (introduced Law 1869) in the canton of Bern at least 30,000 signatures;
  • (introduced Law 1888) in the Canton of Uri at least 600 signatures;
  • In the canton of Schaffhausen (introduced Law 1876) at least 100 signatures;
  • (introduced Law 1869) in the canton of Solothurn least 6000 signatures;
  • (introduced Law 1869) in the canton of Thurgau at least 20,000 signatures;
  • In the canton of Ticino (introduced law in 1892 ) at least 15,000 signatures.

On the occasion of recent revisions of the total cantonal constitutions the right of recall was abolished in different cantons, namely, in the canton of Aargau in 1980, in the canton of Basel-Country in 1984 and in the canton of Lucerne in 2007.