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Switzerland Government
Capital:
Bern
Country name:
conventional long form: Swiss Confederation
conventional short form: Switzerland
local short form: Schweiz (German), Suisse (French), Svizzera (Italian)
local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German), Confederation Suisse (French), Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)
Government type:
federal republic
Administrative divisions:
26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; kantone, singular - kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden, Appenzell Inner-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, 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:
revision of Constitution of 1874 approved by the Federal Parliament 18 December 1998; adopted by referendum 18 April 1999; officially entered into force 1 January 2000
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 Joseph DEISS (since 1 January 2004); Vice President Samuel SCHMID (since 1 January 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Joseph DEISS (since 1 January 2004); Vice President Samuel SCHMID (since 1 January 2004); 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 usually 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 NA December 2003 (next to be held NA December 2004)
election results: Joseph DEISS elected president; percent of Federal Assembly vote - 70.7%; Samuel SCHMID elected vice president; percent of legislative vote - 58.1%
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 the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Council of States - last held in most cantons 19 October 2003 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held 19 October 2003 (next to be held NA October 2007)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CVP 15, FDP 14, SVP 8, SPS 6, other 3; National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 26.6%, SPS 23.3%, FDP 17.3%, CVP 14.4%, Greens 7.4%, other small parties all under 5%; seats by party - SVP 55, SPS 54, FDP 36, CVP 28, Green Party 13, other small parties 14
Judicial branch:
Federal Supreme Court (judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
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) [Ruth GENNER]; 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) [Philipp STAEHELIN, president]; Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Christiane LANGENBERGER, 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, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MONUC, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIK, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Christian BLICKENSTORFER
consulate(s): Boston
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564
telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900
chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Pamela WILLEFORD
embassy: Jubilaeumsstrasse 93, 3005 Bern
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [41] (031) 357 70 11
FAX: [41] (031) 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
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