Bundeshaus Bern. Photo/Foto: TES.

Proportional Representation

The referendum to introduce proportional representation based on universal suffrage (for men only) was won in 1918.

The elections of the National Council (Nationalrat) were even brought forward by one year to introduce this system at the earliest possible date. The first election according to the new system took place on 26 October 1919.

The exhibition in the Federal Palace (Bundeshaus) in Bern commemorates these events.

The exhibition covers the events of the years 1918-1919. The living conditions, the general strike, the end of the First World War and Versailles and the process that eventually led to the first proportional elections (without women) at the national level.

Proportional representation was already the system in some Swiss cantons. The canton of Ticino played a pioneering role and was the first to elect the government and parliament by the system of proportional representation.  (source and further information: