Swiss federal election, 1863

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The 47 electoral districts

Federal elections were held in Switzerland on 25 October 1863. The Radical Left remained the largest group in the National Council, but lost its majority for the first time since 1848.[1]

Electoral system

The 128 members of the National Council were elected in 47 single- and multi-member constituencies; there was one seat for every 20,000 citizens, with seats allocated to cantons in proportion to their population.[2] As a result of the 1860 census, the number of seats was increased by eight following the previous elections in 1860, although the number of constituencies was reduced from 49; the extra seats were given to Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Geneva, Graubünden, St. Gallen, Thurgau, Vaud and Valais. The elections were held using a three-round system; candidates had to receive a majority in the first or second round to be elected; if it went to a third round, only a plurality was required. Voters could cast as many votes as there were seats in their constituency.[2] In six cantons (Appenzell Innerrhoden, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Glarus, Nidwalden, Obwalden and Uri), National Council members were elected by the Landsgemeinde.


Voter turnout was highest in the Canton of Schaffhausen (where voting was compulsory) at 88.2% and lowest in the Canton of Zürich at 18.6%.

Party Votes % Seats +/–
Radical Left 44.159–5
Liberal Centre 23.8370
Catholic Right 19.021+6
Democratic Left 6.76+5
Evangelical Right 4.65+2
Independents 1.800
Registered voters/turnout556,73846.6
Source: BFS


  1. Elections to the National Council 1848–1917: Distribution of seats by party or political orientation BFS
  2. 1 2 Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1886 ISBN 9783832956097
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