Landsgemeinde (cantonal assembly)

Never is it more apparent than when Landsgemeinde takes place, that power rests with the people. The Landsgemeinde (cantonal assembly) is the embodiment of democracy and has taken place in the open on the last Sunday in April since 1403. On this day the seven members of the «Standeskommision» (cantonal government) and the cantonal judges are elected or confirmed and constitutional, legislative and financial issues are discussed and voted on.

Following the Landsgemeinde service in the parish church the cantonal councillors and members of the cantonal court in their official cloaks (called «Liichemaantl») make their way from the «Rathaus» (Town Hall) to the meeting place. The procession is led by the music group «Harmonie», which has played the slow Landsgemeinde March («Marcia solenne» by Arturo Buzzi) since the 19th century. The «Landweibel» (usher) carrying his sceptre follows them. The clerk of the council carries the silver land register to the podium, a two-storey wooden stand on which the «Landammänner» (presidents of the government), «Secklmeischte» (head of the finance department), «Statthalter» (head of the health and social department), «Landshopme» (head of the agriculture and forestry department), «Bauherr» (head of the construction and environmental department), «Landsfehnrich» (head of the judicial, police and military department) and cantonal judges take their places. When the great bell of the church tower falls silent, the presiding Landammann opens the assembly with an official Welcome. After the election, the presiding Landammann and then the eligible voters swear the Landsgemeinde oath.

Before the voting on governmental issues takes place, members of the «Standeskommission» and the cantonal court are elected (or re-elected). Every four years elections take place for the «Ständerat» (upper chamber). The government gives an account of its activities and of the cantonal budget. At this point, as well as during discussions on governmental issues, each person that is entitled to vote has the opportunity to come onto the podium and argue for or against an issue, put forward a suggestion or submit an individual initiative. The Landammann invites participation with the words: «S Woot ischt frei» («The word is free»). Voting is done by a show of hands.

After the Landsgemeinde is over, each and every one is invited to celebrate.




Last Sunday in April, 28th of April 2024, 12.00 pm. Ceremonial Mass: 09.00 am.

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