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Switzerland Government 2010
http://www.workmall.com/wfb2010/switzerland/switzerland_government.html
SOURCE: 2010 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK AND OTHER SOURCES

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Page last updated on January 15, 2010

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)

Government type:
formally a confederation but similar in structure to a federal republic

Capital:
name: Bern
geographic coordinates: 46 57 N, 7 26 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

Administrative divisions:
26 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
note: 6 of the cantons - Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden, Appenzell-Inner-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Nidwalden, Obwalden - are styled half cantons because they elect only one member to the Council of States and, in popular referendums where a majority of popular votes and a majority of cantonal votes are required, these six cantons only have a half vote

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 Doris LEUTHARD (since 1 January 2010); Vice President Moritz LEUENBERGER (since 1 January 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government representing the Federal Council; the Federal Council is the formal chief of state and head of government whose council members, rotating in one-year terms as federal president, represent the Council
head of government: President Hans-Rudolf MERZ (since 1 January 2009); Vice President Doris LEUTHARD (since 1 January 2009)
cabinet: Federal Council or Bundesrat (in German), Conseil Federal (in French), Consiglio Federale (in Italian) elected by the Federal Assembly usually from among its 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 a one-year term (they may not serve consecutive terms); election last held on 2 December 2009 (next to be held in December 2010)
election results: Doris LEUTHARD elected president; number of Federal Assembly votes - 158 of 183; Moritz LEUENBERGER elected vice president; number of Federal Assembly votes - 128 of 187

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; membership consists of 2 representatives from each canton and 1 from each half canton; to 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 in October 2007 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council - last held on 21 October 2007 (next to be held in October 2011)
election results: Council of States - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CVP 15, FDP 12, SVP 7, SPS 9, other 3; National Council - percent of vote by party - SVP 29%, SPS 19.5%, FDP 15.6%, CVP 14.6%, Greens 9.6%, other 11.7%; seats by party - SVP 62, SPS 43, FDP 31, CVP 31, Green Party 20, other small parties 13

Judicial branch:
Federal Supreme Court (judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly)

Political parties and leaders:
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) [Ueli LEUENBERGER]; Christian Democratic People's Party (Christlichdemokratische Volkspartei der Schweiz or CVP, Parti Democrate-Chretien Suisse or PDC, Partito Democratico-Cristiano Popolare Svizzero or PDC, Partida Cristiandemocratica dalla Svizra or PCD) [Christophe DARBELLAY]; Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Fulvio PELLI]; 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) [Christian LEVRAT]; 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) [Toni BRUNNER]; and other minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA

International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, ESA, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MONUC, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Urs ZISWILER
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
consulate(s): Boston

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Donald S. BEYER, Jr.
embassy: Sulgeneckstrasse 19, CH-3007 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; 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: The information regarding Switzerland on this page is re-published from the 2010 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Switzerland Government 2010 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Switzerland Government 2010 should be addressed to the CIA.



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