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Standing for election to the National Council in cantons with more than one seat

How to stand as a candidate in these cantons: ZH, BE, LU, SZ, ZG, FR, SO, BS, BL, SH, SG, GR, AG, TG, TI, VD, VS, NE, GE, JU.

If you wish to stand for election to the National Council in one of these cantons and meet the eligibility requirements, you need to submit your candidacy application for approval to the cantonal chancellery or other competent authority.

Submitting your candidacy

  • Candidates may only submit one candidacy application in one constituency.

  • A candidate’s name may appear twice on the same list (accumulating)

  • Candidates must provide the following details: their full name (official name and the name by which they are usually known), sex, date of birth, occupation, address including postcode, and place of origin including the canton.

  • Candidates must confirm in writing that they agree to stand as a candidate. If they fail to do so, their name will be removed from the list.

  • A single candidate or group of candidates standing for the same party or movement constitutes a candidate list.

  • A candidate list may not contain more names than the number of seats available for the canton. If a list contains too many names, the last ones will be removed from the list.

  • Each candidate list must have a name which distinguishes it from other lists.

Signatures and seats

Once a candidate list has been constituted, it must be signed by a specific number of persons who are both eligible to vote and who have their political domicile in the constituency concerned. The minimum numbers of signatures are:

  • 100 in cantons with 2-10 seats (LU, SZ, ZG, FR, SO, BS, BL, SH, GR, TG, TI, VS, NE, JU)
  • 200 in cantons with 11-20 seats (SG, AG, VD, GE)
  • 400 in cantons with more than 20 seats (ZH, BE). No person eligible to vote may sign more than one candidate list and may not withdraw their signature following submission of the candidate list.

No one is permitted to sign more than one candidate list and it is not permitted to withdraw a signature following submission of the candidate list.


The requirement to provide a minimum number of signatures does not apply to parties that meet all the following requirements:

  • The party was officially registered with the Federal Chancellery at the end of the year preceding the election;
  • The party already has at least one member representing the same canton in the National Council in the legislative period that is due to end or it received at least three per cent of the vote in the same canton at the previous general election.

These parties must simply submit the valid signatures of all their candidates along with those of their president and secretary.

From the proposed list to the official list

The proposed candidate list must then be submitted to the canton by the official deadline.

The candidate lists approved by the competent authority, normally the cantonal chancellery, become the official candidate lists. Each list is given a number.

List combinations and sub-combinations

To improve their chances of being elected, parties and/or candidate groups may choose to combine their lists.

List combinations and sub-combinations


Proposed candidate lists must be sent to the canton by the submission deadline set by the canton. The canton notifies the Federal Chancellery of all candidate lists received.
Cantonal law specifies one Monday in August of the year of the election as the final date for the submission of candidate lists. The precise date will be published in good time on your canton’s website, or you can ask your canton what date it is.

No candidate list may be further amended from the second Monday following the final date for submission of lists, unless a candidate’s name has to be officially deleted as it appears on more than one list. Cantonal legislation may reduce to one week the period allowed for amendments.

More information on candidates in the Federal Act on political rights, art. 16-57

Calendar for the 2019 National Council elections

Last modification: november 2019