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Switzerland Government

    Country name:
    conventional long form: Swiss Confederation
    conventional short form: Switzerland
    local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German), Confederation Suisse (French), Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)
    local short form: Schweiz (German), Suisse (French), Svizzera (Italian)

    Data code: SZ

    Government type: federal republic

    Capital: Bern

    Administrative divisions: 26 cantons (cantons, singular—canton in French; cantoni, singular—cantone in Italian; kantone, singular—kanton in German); Aargau, Ausser-Rhoden, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Fribourg, Geneve, Glarus, Graubunden, Inner-Rhoden, Jura, Luzern, Neuchatel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Sankt Gallen, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Solothurn, Thurgau, Ticino, Uri, Valais, Vaud, Zug, Zurich

    Independence: 1 August 1291

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

    Constitution: 29 May 1874

    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 Ruth DREIFUSS (since 1 January 1999); Vice President Adolf OGI (since 1 January 1999); note—the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Ruth DREIFUSS (since 1 January 1999); Vice President Adolf OGI (since 1 January 1999); 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 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 1998 (next to be held NA December 1999)
    election results: Ruth DREIFUSS elected president; percent of Federal Assembly vote—Ruth DREIFUSS 75%; Adolf OGI elected vice president; percent of legislative vote —NA

    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 a basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
    elections: Council of States—last held throughout 1997 (each canton determines when the next election will be held); National Council—last held 20 October 1995 (next to be held probably 24 October 1999)
    election results: Council of States—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—FDP 17, CVP 16, SVP 5, SPS 5, LPS 2, LdU 1; National Council—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—FDP 45, SPS 54, CVP 34, SVP 29, Greens 9, LPS 7, FPS 7, LdU 3, EVP 2, SD 3, PdAdS 3, Ticino League 1, EDU 1, FRAP 1, CSP 1

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

    Political parties and leaders: Radical Free Democratic Party (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz or FDP, Parti Radical-Democratique Suisse or PRD, Partitio Liberal-Radicale Svizzero or PLR) [Franz STEINEGGER, 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) [Ursula KOCH, president]; 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) [Adalbert DURRER, 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]; 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) [Ruedi BAUMANN, president]; Freedom Party or FPS [Roland BORER]; Alliance of Independents' Party (Landesring der Unabhaengigen or LdU, Alliance des Independants or AdI) [Anton SCHALLER, president]; Ticino League (Lega dei Ticinesi) [leader NA]; and other minor parties including Swiss Democratic Party (Schweizer Demokraten or SD, Democrates Suisses or DS, Democratici Svizzeri or DS), Liberal Party (Liberale Partei der Schweiz or LPS, Parti Liberal Suisse or PLS, Partito Liberale Svizzero or PLS), Workers' Party (Parti Suisse du Travail or PST, Partei der Arbeit der Schweiz or PdAdS, Partito Svizzero del Lavoro or PSdL), Evangelical People's Party (Evangelische Volkspartei der Schweiz or EVP, Parti Evangelique Suisse or PEV, Partito Evangelico Svizzero or PEV), and the Union of Federal Democrats (Eidgenossisch-Demokratische Union or EDU, Union Democratique Federale or UDF, Unione Democratica Federale or UDF)

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

    Diplomatic representation in the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Alfred DEFAGO
    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

    Diplomatic representation from the US:
    chief of mission: Ambassador Madeleine May KUNIN
    embassy: Jubilaeumstrasse 93, 3005 Bern
    mailing address: use embassy street address
    telephone: [41] (31) 357 70 11
    FAX: [41] (31) 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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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)