Switzerland Government - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Country name

conventional long form: Swiss Confederation

conventional short form: Switzerland

local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German); Confederation Suisse (French); Confederazione Svizzera (Italian); Confederaziun Svizra (Romansh)

local short form: Schweiz (German); Suisse (French); Svizzera (Italian); Svizra (Romansh)

abbreviation: CH

etymology: name derives from the canton of Schwyz, one of the founding cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy that formed in the 14th century

 

Government type

federal republic (formally a confederation)

Capital

name: Bern

geographic coordinates: 46 55 N, 7 28 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

etymology: origin of the name is uncertain, but may derive from a 2nd century B.C. Celtic place name, possibly "berna" meaning "cleft," that was subsequently adopted by a Roman settlement  

Administrative divisions

26 cantons (cantons, singular - canton in French; cantoni, singular - cantone in Italian; Kantone, singular - Kanton in German); Aargau, Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Berne/Bern, Fribourg/Freiburg, Geneve (Geneva), Glarus, Graubuenden/Grigioni/Grischun, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais/Wallis, Vaud, Zug, Zuerich

note: 6 of the cantons - Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Nidwalden, Obwalden - are referred to as half cantons because they elect only one member (instead of two) to the Council of States and, in popular referendums where a majority of popular votes and a majority of cantonal votes are required, these 6 cantons only have a half vote

Independence

1 August 1291 (founding of the Swiss Confederation)

National holiday

Founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291; note - since 1 August 1891 celebrated as Swiss National Day

Constitution

history: previous 1848, 1874; latest adopted by referendum 18 April 1999, effective 1 January 2000

amendments: proposed by the two houses of the Federal Assembly or by petition of at least one hundred thousand voters (called the "federal popular initiative"); passage of proposals requires majority vote in a referendum; following drafting of an amendment by the Assembly, its passage requires approval by majority vote in a referendum and approval by the majority of cantons; amended many times, last in 2018

Legal system

civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts, except for federal decrees of a general obligatory character

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Switzerland

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 12 years including at least 3 of the last 5 years prior to application

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state:

President of the Swiss Confederation Guy PARMELIN (since 1 January 2021); Vice President  Ignazio CASSIS (since 1 January 2021); note - the Federal Council, which is comprised of 7 federal councillors, constitutes the federal government of Switzerland; council members rotate the 1-year term of federal president



head of government: President of the Swiss Confederation Guy PARMELIN (since 1 January 2021; Vice President Ignazio CASSIS (since 1 January 2021)

cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) indirectly elected by the Federal Assembly for a 4-year term

elections/appointments: president and vice president elected by the Federal Assembly from among members of the Federal Council for a 1-year, non-consecutive term; election last held on 11 December 2019 (next to be held in December 2020)

election results: Guy PARMELIN elected president; Federal Assembly vote - 192 of 205; Ignazio CASSIS elected vice president; Federal Assembly vote - 162 of 199

Legislative branch

description: description: bicameral Federal Assembly or Bundesversammlung (in German), Assemblée Fédérale (in French), Assemblea Federale (in Italian) consists of:
Council of States or Ständerat (in German), Conseil des États (in French), Consiglio degli Stati (in Italian) (46 seats; members in multi-seat constituencies representing cantons and single-seat constituencies representing half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote except Jura and Neuchatel cantons which use proportional representation vote; member term governed by cantonal law)
National Council or Nationalrat (in German), Conseil National (in French), Consiglio Nazionale (in Italian) (200 seats; 195 members in cantons directly elected by proportional representation vote and 6 in half cantons directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 4-year terms) (e.g. 2019)

elections:
Council of States - last held in most cantons on 20 October 2019 (each canton determines when the next election will be held)
National Council - last held on 20 October 2019 (next to be held in 2023) (e.g. 2019)

election results:
Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CVP 13, FDP 12, SDP 9, Green Party 5, other 1; composition - NA
National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 25.6%, SP 16.8%, FDP 15.1%, Green Party 13.2%, CVP 11.4%, GLP 7.8%, other 10.1%; seats by party - SVP 53, SP 39, FDP 29, Green Party 28, CVP 25, GLP 16, other 10; composition - men 116, women 84, percent of women 42% (e.g. 2019)

Judicial branch

highest courts: Federal Supreme Court (consists of 38 justices and 19 deputy justices organized into 7 divisions)

judge selection and term of office: judges elected by the Federal Assembly for 6-year terms; note - judges are affiliated with political parties and are elected according to linguistic and regional criteria in approximate proportion to the level of party representation in the Federal Assembly

subordinate courts: Federal Criminal Court (established in 2004); Federal Administrative Court (established in 2007); note - each of Switzerland's 26 cantons has its own courts

Political parties and leaders

Free Democratic Party or FDP.The Liberals (FDP.Die Liberalen, PLR.Les Liberaux-Radicaux, PLR.I Liberali, Ils Liberals) [Petra GOESSI]
Green Liberal Party (Gruenliberale Partei or GLP, Parti vert liberale or PVL, Partito Verde-Liberale or PVL, Partida Verde Liberale or PVL) [Juerg GROSSEN]
Green Party (Gruene Partei der Schweiz or Gruene, Parti Ecologiste Suisse or Les Verts, Partito Ecologista Svizzero or I Verdi, Partida Ecologica Svizra or La Verda) [Regula RYTZ]
Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz or SP, Parti Socialiste Suisse or PSS, Partito Socialista Svizzero or PSS, Partida Socialdemocratica de la Svizra or PSS) [Christian LEVRAT]
Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP, Union Democratique du Centre or UDC, Unione Democratica di Centro or UDC, Uniun Democratica dal Center or UDC) [Albert ROESTI]
other minor parties
The Center (Die Mitte, Alleanza del Centro, Le Centre, Allianza dal Center) [Gerhard PFISTER] (merger of the Christian Democratic People's Party and the Conservative Democratic Party)

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, EITI (implementing country), ESA, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNMOGIP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Jacques PITTELOUD (since 16 September 2019)

chancery: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 745-7900

FAX: [1] (202) 387-2564

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

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Edward "Ed" MCMULLEN, Jr. (since 21 November 2017) note - also accredited to Liechtenstein

telephone: [41] (031) 357-70-11

embassy: Sulgeneckstrasse 19, CH-3007 Bern

mailing address: use embassy street address

FAX: [41] (031) 357-73-20

Flag description

red square with a bold, equilateral white cross in the center that does not extend to the edges of the flag; various medieval legends purport to describe the origin of the flag; a white cross used as identification for troops of the Swiss Confederation is first attested at the Battle of Laupen (1339)

note: in 1863, a newly formed international relief organization convening in Geneva, Switzerland sought to come up with an identifying flag or logo, they chose the inverse of the Swiss flag - a red cross on a white field - as their symbol; today that organization is known throughout the world as the International Red Cross

National symbol(s)

Swiss cross (white cross on red field, arms equal length); national colors: red, white

National anthem

lyrics/music: Leonhard WIDMER [German], Charles CHATELANAT [French], Camillo VALSANGIACOMO [Italian], and Flurin CAMATHIAS [Romansch]/Alberik ZWYSSIG

the Swiss anthem has four names: "Schweizerpsalm" [German] "Cantique Suisse" [French] "Salmo svizzero," [Italian] "Psalm svizzer" [Romansch] (Swiss Psalm) note: unofficially adopted 1961, officially 1981; the anthem has been popular in a number of Swiss cantons since its composition (in German) in 1841; translated into the other three official languages of the country (French, Italian, and Romansch), it is official in each of those languages



NOTE: The information regarding Switzerland on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Switzerland 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Switzerland 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

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