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How to set up a political party or join an existing one

Everything you need to know about founding a new party or joining an existing party.

Joining an existing political party

There are no specific formalities for joining a party. All you need to do is contact the party you would like to join, and follow the instructions. Some parties schedule a meeting with applicants to ask a few questions. There is no one way to get involved in a political party. Some parties give new applicants the option to register as supporters, allowing them to get a preview before deciding to join the party.
Party members generally pay an annual fee set by the party. The fee may vary by region, by party and by a member’s personal financial situation.

Establishing a political party

In Switzerland, everyone is free to form a party. The process is fairly straightforward. The most common form is an association; all the necessary steps for setting up an association are explained in the Swiss Civil Code. In particular, an association must adopt written statutes containing standard provisions about the party’s political orientation, how it is financed and how it is organised. These rules apply regardless of whether the association is active at communal, cantonal or federal level, or at several levels.

If you decide not to establish your party in the form of an association, it will be an ordinary partnership; in other words, all party members bear unlimited liability for party debts to the full extent of their assets.

Swiss Civil Code – Art. 60 ss: Associations

Register of political parties

The parties represented at federal level, or those represented in at least three cantonal parliaments, enjoy certain administrative benefits when they register with the Federal Chancellery to be listed in the register of political parties. Registration is not mandatory.

Federal Chancellery – Register of political parties (In G, F, I)
Registration in the federal register of political parties (In G, F, I)