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The right of petition gives citizens the right to express a concern in writing to the authority in charge of some matter. It can take the form of a request, a demand or a simple suggestion.

Who can start and sign a petition

Anybody may start or sign a petition, regardless of their age, sex or nationality.

Subject of a petition

Requests made in a petition may address any of the state’s activities or any issues relating to daily life. To make their voices heard, citizens may start a petition and submit it to the competent local authorities.

How to start a petition

A petition can be sent to the communal, cantonal or federal authorities. A petition can be submitted in two different formats:

  • Paper petition
  • Online petition

A petition usually includes a title and a text, but there is no predefined form. It can be formulated as a request, a demand or a simple suggestion.

A petition usually takes the form of a list of signatures. These signatures are often collected in the streets, but may also be collected online.

There is no deadline for collecting signatures, nor a minimum number of signatures.

Under Article 33 of the Federal Constitution, anyone can start a petition. Whether the petition is launched on paper or online, it does not have any legal value per se. The authority to which the petition is addressed must acknowledge receipt of the petition, but is not required to respond. However, the authorities generally do consider petitions and respond.

Article 33 of the Federal Constitution
Swiss Parliament - Petition