Encyclopedia > Politics of Switzerland

  Article Content

Politics of Switzerland

Politics of Switzerland

Government type: federal republic

National holiday: Anniversary of the Founding of the Swiss Confederation, 1 August (1291)

Constitution: 18 April 1999

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
A specialty of Swiss politics is, that suffrage concerns not only elections but also voting: for any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory, for any change in a law, a referendum can be requested - in practice, the people has the last word in every change of law some interest group disagrees with.

Executive branch:
head of government: President of the Confederation Pascal Couchepin (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Ruth Metzler-Arnold (since 1 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government. See also the List of Presidents of Switzerland.
cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil fédéral (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) elected by the Federal Assembly from among its own members for a four-year term. Present members beside president and vice-president: Micheline Calmy-Rey, Joseph Deiss, Moritz Leuenberger, Samuel Schmid, Kaspar Villiger. See also: List of members of the Swiss Federal Council.
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 NA Decembre 2002 (next to be held NA December 2003)
The Swiss cabinet is one of the most stable governments worldwide: Since 1959 the Federal Council is composed of a coalition of all major parties in the same ratio (2 Radical Free Party, 2 Social Democratic, 2 Christian Democratic, 1 Swiss People's Party). Changes in the cabinet occur in practice only, if one of the members resigns - this member is then replaced by someone from the same party (and preferably also the same language group and sex).

Legislative branch: Bicameral parliament. Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblée fédérale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of the Council of States[?] or Ständerat (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 19 October 2003)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FDP 12, CVP 11, SVP 6, SPS 4, other 1; note - as of 1 January 2000, 12 seats were up for runoff elections; 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 (Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Démocrate-Chrétien Suisse or PDC, Partito Democratico-Cristiano Popolare Svizzero or PDC, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [1] (http://www.cvp.ch) -- Philipp Stähelin[?], president;
  • Evangelical People's Party (Evangelische Volkspartei der Schweiz or EVP, Parti Evangelique Suisse or PEV, Partito Evangelico Svizzero or PEV) [2] (http://www.evppev.ch) -- Ruedi Aeschbacher[?], president;
  • Green Party (Grüne Partei der Schweiz or Grüne, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [3] (http://www.gruene.ch) -- Ruth Genner[?] and Patrice Mugny[?], presidents;
  • Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti radical-démocratique suisse or PRD, Partito Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [4] (http://www.fdp.ch) -- Christiane Langenberger[?], president;
  • Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SPS, Parti Socialiste Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [5] (http://www.sp-ps.ch) -- Christiane Brunner[?], president;
  • Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Démocratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica del Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [6] (http://www.svp.ch) -- Ueli Maurer[?], president; and minor
  • other parties including
    • Swiss Democratic Party (Schweizer Demokraten or SD, Démocrates Suisses or DS, Democratici Svizzeri or DS),
    • Ticino League (Lega dei Ticinesi) [7] (http://www.legaticinesi.ch)
    • Liberal Party (Liberale Partei der Schweiz or LPS, Parti liberal suisse or PLS, Partito Liberale Svizzero or PLS) [8] (http://www.liberal.ch) -- Claude Ruey[?], president;
    • Freedom Party or FPS,
    • Workers' Party (Parti suisse du travail or PST, Partei der Arbeit der Schweiz or PdAdS, Partito Svizzero del Lavoro or PSdL), and the
    • Union of Federal Democrats (Eidgenössisch-Demokratische Union or EDU, Union Démocratique Fédérale or UDF, Unione Democratica Federale or UDF).

International organization participation:
ACCT[?], AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G-10[?], IADB[?], IAEA, IBRD (World Bank), ICAO, ICC, ICC, ICDO[?], ICFTU, ICMM[?], ICRM, IDA, IEA[?], IFAD, IFC, IFCS[?], IFRCS, IGC[?], ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, IWC, LAIA[?] (observer), NAM (guest), NEA[?], NSG[?], OAS (observer), OECD, OIE, OPCW, OSCE, OTIF[?], PCA, PFP[?], UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR[?], UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNOMIG[?], UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representations of Switzerland:
Official list by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) (http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/g/home/emb/addch)

Diplomatic representations in Switzerland:
Official list by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) (http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/e/home/emb/addfor)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Christian Blickenstorfer[?]
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

Flag description: red square with a bold, equilateral white greek cross in the center of the flag

Web site: http://www.admin.ch

See also : Switzerland

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article

... plus water plus energy. However, it is important to note that this chemical equation is highly simplified; in reality photosynthesis employs a very complex mechanism for the ...

This page was created in 42 ms