Since 1919 elections to the National Council have been held under the system of proportional representation. Under this system seats are allocated to the parties in proportion to the votes received. Only afterwards do the candidates with the highest number of votes take up the seats won by the parties. In contrast to the first-past-the-post system even small parties can be represented in parliament under proportional representation.
The Council of States consists of 46 representatives from the Swiss cantons. Most cantons elect two representatives, the exceptions being AI, AR, BL, BS, NW and OW which elect just one. 45 members of the Council of States are elected at the same time as members of the National Council. However, in Appenzell Innerrhoden the people’s assembly elects its representative in the month of April prior to the National Council elections.
Elections of the National Council | Elections of the Council of States