A party is a group of people who share political ideas and unite to put them into practice. It is often concerned with the role and organisation of the state, the economic and social system or the environment.
Left-wing parties traditionally support a strong welfare state. The right-wing parties, also known as ‹bourgeois parties› in Switzerland, place more emphasis on individual responsibility and liberal economic policies. Centrist parties share some ideas with left-wing parties and others with right-wing parties.
The political party landscape in Switzerland is very diverse. Some parties are active at the federal, cantonal and communal levels; others are represented at only one level. There is no official overview of all parties in Switzerland. However, the Parliament provides a list of the political parties represented in Parliament.
At the federal level, there has been no ‹majority› party since 1919, which would require that a party win more than 50% of the votes in National Council elections.
Parties play an important role in the functioning of Swiss democracy. They contribute to opinion forming, propose candidates for public office and launch initiatives and referendums. The parties also make recommendations during the votes.
The procedure can vary from party to party in Switzerland. Contact the party you would like to join. Some parties will begin by inviting you for an interview. Other parties do not require any commitment right away, and let people register as supporters.
Party members generally pay an annual membership fee. The amount varies according to the region, the party and sometimes your income.
In Switzerland, you are free to create a party and can do so quite easily. The most common form is an association. The conditions to be fulfilled are defined in Articles 60 to 79 of the Swiss Civil Code.
If you set up your party as an association, you must draw up written statutes describing its purpose (political orientation), funding and organisation (party organs).
The Federal Chancellery maintains a federal register of political parties (web page available in German, French and Italian). Registration is not compulsory, but parties that do so can benefit from administrative facilities for the National Council election. Find out more about the conditions to be met in the application for registration (web page available in German, French and Italian), which you can complete online.
Parliament provides a list of the political parties represented in Parliament.
The conditions to be fulfilled to create a political party in the form of an association are defined in Articles 60 to 79 of the Swiss Civil Code.
You can consult the federal register of political parties of the Federal Chancellery (web page available in German, French and Italian).
You can apply to register your party (web page available in German, French and Italian) in the federal register of political parties.