Constitution and Democracy

Eerste editie Bulletin, 4 juli 1891. Foto: www.parlament.ch

The Bulletin of the Parliament

In 2016, it will be 125 years since the debates in the Swiss parliament first appeared in public in the three official languages German, French and Italian. The debate began immediately after the new Constitution of 1848. It would take until 1891 for the first Bulletin to see the light of day: Amtliches Bulletin der Bundesversammlung, Bulletin officiel de l’Assemblée fédérale, Bollettino ufficiale dell’Assemblea federale.

Previously, the publication was mainly a matter of journalism by the first pioneers of the civil service. They began to publish at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century, at the time of the Helvetic Republic (1798-1803), the old Confederation (1803-1813 and 1815-1848) and the new Confederation after 1848. Gradually a professionalisation took place.

In 1799 the Helvetic Republic (1798-1803) had established a publicly accessible archive for matters at the federal level, which was revived after 1848. Here, too, the aim was to give interested parties effective access to federal matters. After 125 years, the Bulletin still occupies a prominent place in this archive, although paper and printing ink has made way for video, internet and integral broadcasts of all parliamentary assemblies. Initially, the content of the Bulletin was limited to discussions on referendums (possibly from 1874 onwards) and Initiatives (from 1891 onwards). It was not until 1971 that all discussions in the parliamentary assembly were literally and completely reproduced. Nowadays, all council meetings can be followed directly, the Bulletin is available online and the archive of the parliament is digitised.