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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Switzerland Government




Switzerland    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  Swiss Confederation

conventional short form:  Switzerland

local long form:  Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German), Confederation Suisse (French), Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)

local short form:  Schweiz (German), Suisse (French), Svizzera (Italian)
Government type: federal republic
Capital: Bern
Administrative divisions: 26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; kantone, singular - kanton in German); Aargau, Ausser-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, Inner-Rhoden, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zurich
Independence: 1 August 1291 (Founding of the Swiss Confederation)
National holiday: Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)
Constitution: 29 May 1874
Legal system: civil law system influenced by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts, except with respect to federal decrees of general obligatory character; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state:  President Moritz LEUENBERGER (since 1 January 2001); Vice President Kaspar VILLIGER (since 1 January 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

head of government:  President Moritz LEUENBERGER (since 1 January 2001); Vice President Kaspar VILLIGER (since 1 January 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

cabinet:  Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) elected by the Federal Assembly from among its own members for a four-year term

elections:  president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one-year terms that run concurrently; election last held 6 December 2000 (next to be held NA December 2001)

election results:  Moritz LEUENBERGER elected president; percent of Federal Assembly vote - 76%; Kaspar VILLIGER elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - 72%
Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblee Federale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of the Council of States or Standerat (in German), Conseil des Etats (in French), Consiglio degli Stati (in Italian) (46 seats - members serve four-year terms) and the National Council or Nationalrat (in German), Conseil National (in French), Consiglio Nazionale (in Italian) (200 seats - members are elected by popular vote on a basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)

elections:  Council of States - last held in 1999 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held 24 October 1999 (next to be held NA October 2003)

election results:  Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FDP 18, CVP 15, SVP 7, SPS 6; National Council - percent of vote by party - SPS 22.5%, SVP 22.6%, FDP 19.9%, CVP 15.8%, other small parties all under 5%; seats by party - SPS 51, SVP 44, FDP 43, CVP 35, Greens 9, other small parties 18
Judicial branch: Federal Supreme Court (judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly)
Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic People's Party (Christichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Democratico-Cristiano Popolare Svizzero or PDC, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Adalbert DURRER, president]; Green Party (Grune Partei der Schweiz or Grune, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Ruedi BAUMANN, president]; Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Franz STEINEGGER, president]; Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SPS, Parti Socialist Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Christiane BRUNNER, president]; Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica de Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Ueli MAURER, president]; and other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MONUC, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Alfred DEFAGO

chancery:  2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone:  [1] (202) 745-7900

FAX:  [1] (202) 387-2564

consulate(s) general:  Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco

consulate(s):  Boston
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador J. Richard FREDERICKS

embassy:  Jubilaeumstrasse 93, 3001 Bern

mailing address:  use embassy street address

telephone:  [41] (31) 357 70 11

FAX:  [41] (31) 357 73 44
Flag description: red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag

 

Countryfacts Information Courtesy: CIA Worldbook








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