A National Council general election takes place every four years. The members are elected for a four-year term of office (one legislature period). Members can be elected for more than one four-year term of office.

The election to 45 of the 46 seats in the Council of States is held at the same time as the National Council election. The canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden elects its member in the Council of States at its People’s Assembly in the April prior to the general election.