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Federal republic in western Europe, neighboring France and Germany.

Switzerland (official name the Swiss Confederation) is a federal republic, composed of 26 cantons. Federal authorities are based in Bern. The largest cities and economic centres are Zürich, Geneva, Basel and Lausanne.

Federalism, which was introduced in Switzerland in 1848, makes it possible to enjoy diversity within a single entity. For Switzerland, with its four national languages and its highly diverse geographical landscapes, federalism makes an important contribution to social cohesion. The Federal Constitution lays down the powers of the Confederation and the cantons. The cantons, in turn, define the powers of their communes.

The Swiss Parliament consists of two houses: the Council of States which has 46 representatives (two from each canton and one from each half-canton) who are elected under a system determined by each canton. The 246 members of parliament are elected by the people every four years. They represent the interests of the various language communities, political parties, world views and regions in Switzerland. Members of both houses serve for 4 years and only serve as members of parliament part-time (so-called Milizsystem or citizen legislature). When both houses are in joint session, they are known collectively as the Federal Assembly. Through referendums, citizens may challenge any law passed by parliament and, through initiatives, introduce amendments to the federal constitution, thus making Switzerland a direct democracy.

The Swiss government comprises the seven members of the Federal Council. The president is elected for a one-year term of office and is regarded during that time as ‘Primus inter pares’, or first among equals.


May 26, 2020
Switzerland launches Covid-19 contact tracing app pilot for 'several thousand' citizens


Further Resources



Jackie Annett
October 13, 2021
NEW STATE pension rules which are due to come into force in less than 12 weeks' time will mean that people planning to retire outside the UK won't receive National Insurance credits while living in another country.
Zee News
October 11, 2021
Zee News
India has received the third set of Swiss bank account details of with Switzerland as part of an annual exercise under which the European nation has shared particulars of nearly 33 lakh financial accounts with 96 countries.
Rebekah Evans
October 7, 2021
THE WINTER Fuel Payment scheme is set to commence soon in an effort to provide older individuals with more support. However, there are some pensioners who will not be eligible for the scheme - and it is important to check.
Devin Coldewey
September 30, 2021
No one knows exactly how drone delivery will fit into the future of logistics, but one thing is for sure: the aircraft aren't going to drop off important payloads directly onto someone's lawn. Matternet's Station, an automated landing space and payload control tower, may be the solution, and the flower-like structure has finally made the [...]
Alyson Meister
September 24, 2021
Harvard Business Review
Leaders: The ball is in your court.


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