Political Conditions in Switzerland
- Type of State
- Federal republic based on parliamentary democracy. Confederation of 26 cantons (states/provinces) which enjoy fair amount of decentralisation.
- Executive Power
- President is both the chief of the state and head of the government. The post is purely ceremonial and by tradition rotates annually among the seven members of the Federal Council for one-year term.The Federal Council is a seven-member executive council (cabinet) that heads the executive branch, with its members being elected by country’s parliament for a four-year term. Under the constitution of Switzerland the make-up of the government is not determined by parliamentary majority but in accordance with a four-party power-sharing agreement (established in 1959) and known as the "magic formula".
- Legislative Power
- The legislature in Switzerland is bicameral. The parliament called Federal Assembly consists of: Council of States (the upper house) having 46 seats, with 2 members selected from each of the 20 cantons (states/provinces) and 1 from each of the six half-canton to serve four-year terms and the National Council (the lower house) having 200 seats, with its members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. The federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament.
- Main Political Parties
Switzerland has a multi-party system, where a single party has little chance of gaining power alone. Thus, parties work with each other to form coalition governments. The major parties in the country are:
SVP (Swiss People's Party) – populist right-wing, with a strong base in German-speaking areas of Switzerland, SP (Social Democratic Party) – centre-left, CVP (Christian Democratic Party) - centre-right, Green Party - left-wing environmentalist, its motto "think globally, act locally."
- Current Political Leaders
President: Micheline CALMY-REY - PDC (since 1 January 2011)
Vice President: Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (since 1 January 2011)
- Next Election Dates
Presidential:December 2011 (conducted on yearly basis)
Council of States: Not available (each canton decides its own election dates)National Council:October 2011
Indicator of Freedom of the Press
- World Rank:
- 4 places up compared to 2008
Indicator of Political Freedom
- Political Freedom:
- Civil Liberties:
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