Switzerland Politics

Switzerland Politics, Population and Geography

Background: The independence and neutrality of Switzerland has long been respected by the major European powers. Switzerland did not participate in both world wars. The political and economic integration of Europe over the past fifty years, as well as the importance of Switzerland to the UN and many international organizations, make the country’s concern for maintaining neutrality irrelevant.


Location: Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy.
Geographic coordinates: 47° 00′ N. latitude, 8° 00′ E
Reference map: Europe.
Area: total: 41,290 square kilometers; land surface area: 39,770 km2; water surface area: 1,520 km2
Comparative area: slightly less than double the area of ​​the state of New Jersey.
Land borders: total: 1,852 km; with neighboring states: with Austria 164 km, with France 573 km, with Italy 740 km, with Liechtenstein 41 km, with Germany 334 km.
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked).
Maritime claims: none (landlocked).
Climate: moderate, but varies with height; cold, cloudy, rainy or snowy winters; cool to warm, cloudy damp summers; showers happen.
Relief: mostly mountains (Alps in the south, Jura in the northwest) with a central plateau with gentle hills, plains, large lakes.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Lake Maggiore 195 m; highest point: Monte Rosa 4,634 m.
Natural resources: hydropower, timber, salt.
Land use: arable land: 10%; cultivated land: 2%; pastures: 28%; forests and plantations: 32%; others: 28% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 250 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: avalanches, landslides, floods.
Actual environmental problems: air pollution by transport emissions and combustion products; acid rain; water pollution due to increased use of agricultural fertilizers; reduction of biodiversity.
International agreements on environmental protection: contributor: Air Pollution, Air Pollution – Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution – Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution – Sulfur 1985, Air Pollution – Sulfur 1994, Air Pollution – Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered species, Environmental change, Hazardous waste, Marine pollution, Marine life conservation, Nuclear test ban, Ozone layer protection, Ship pollution, Tropical timber 1983, Tropical timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling; signed but not ratified: Antarctica – Protocol on Environmental Protection, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea.
Note to the section “Geography”: has no access to the sea; located at the crossroads between Northern and Southern Europe; Switzerland, along with France and Northern Italy, has the highest mountain peaks in Europe.


Population: 7,283,274 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 16.97% (male 634,030; female 601,629); 15 to 64 years old: 67.73% (male 2,505,450; female 2,427,408); over 65: 15.3% (male 453,366; female 661,091) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.27% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 10.12 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 8.77 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 1.37 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; up to 15 years: 1.05 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 1.03 male/female; over 65: 0.69 male/female; for the general population: 0.97 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 4.48 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 79.73 years; men: 76.85 years; women: 82.76 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.47 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.46% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 17,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 150 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Swiss; adjective: Swiss.
Ethnic groups: Germans 65%, French 18%, Italians 10%, other 7%.
Believers: Roman Catholic 46.1%, Protestant 40%, other 5%, non-denominational 8.9% (1990).
Languages): German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 19.2%, Italian (official) 7.6%, Romansh 0.6%, other 8.9%.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 99% (1980 est.). men: no data; women: no data.


Common long form: Swiss Confederation;
conventional short form: Switzerland; local long form: Schweizerische Eidgenos-senschaft (in German), Confederation Suisse (in French), Confederazione Svizzera (in Italian); local short form: Schweiz (German), Suisse (French), Svizzera (Italian).
State structure: federal republic. See politicsezine.com to know more about Switzerland Political System.
Capital: Bern.
Administrative divisions: 26 cantons: Aargau, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Valais, Vaud, Glarus, Graubünden, Geneva, Solothurn, Inner-Roden, Lucerne, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Osser-Roden, St. Gallen, Ticino, Tugrau, Uri, Friborg, Zug, Zurich, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Jura.
Dependent Territories:
Independence: from August 1, 1291.
National holiday: Foundation Day of the Swiss Confederation, August 1 (1291).
Constitution: adopted May 29, 1874
Legal system: civil law system with influence from customary law; legislative acts may be challenged in court, with the exception of federal laws of a generally binding nature; subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from the age of 18, universal.
chief of state: President Moritz LEUENBERGER (since 1 January 2001); Vice President Kaspar VIL-LIGER (since January 1, 2001); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of government: President Moritz LOYEN-BERGER (since 1 January 2001); Vice President Kaspar VILLIGER (since January 1, 2001); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
government: the Federal Council is elected by the Federal Assembly from among its members for four years; elections: the president and vice president are elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one year; elections last held in December 2000 (next to be held in December 2001); election results: Moritz Leuenberger elected president; the percentage of legislators voted for him – 76%; Kaspar VILLIGER elected Vice President; the percentage of legislators voted for him is 72%.
Legislature: the bicameral Federal Assembly consists of the Council of Cantons (46 seats, members are elected for 4 years) and the National Council (200 seats, members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation for 4 years); elections: Council of Cantons – last held in 2000 (each canton determines the timing of elections); National Council – last held 24 October 1999 (next to be held October 2003); election results: Council of States – distribution of votes between parties: NA; distribution of seats among parties: FDP 18, CVP 15, SVP 7, SPS 6; National Council, distribution of votes between parties: SPS 22.5%, SVP 22.6%, FDP 19.9%, CVP 15.8%, other small parties together 5%; distribution of seats among parties: SPS 51, SVP 44, FDP 43, CVP 35, Greens 9, other small parties 18.
Judiciary: Federal Supreme Court, judges are elected for six years by the Federal Assembly.
Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic People’s Party (CVP) (Adalbert DURRER, president); Green Party (Ruedi BAUMANN, president); Radical Free Democratic Party (FDP) (Franz STEINEGGER, president); Social Democratic Party (SPS) (Christiane BRUNNER, president); Swiss People’s Party (SVP) (Ueli MAURER, president).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: 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), MONUC, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN (observer), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNOMIG, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: head of mission: Ambassador Alfred DEFAGO (Alfred DEFAGO); office: 2900 Cathedral Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone: [1] (202) 745-7900; fax: [1] (202) 387-2564; ^ consulates general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco; Consulate: Boston.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador J. Richard FREDERICKS; embassy: Jubilaeumstrasse 93, 3001 Bern; mailing address: embassy address; ; phone: [41] (31) 357 70 11; I fax: [41] (31) 357 73 44.
Description of the flag: a red square with an equilateral white cross in the center, not reaching the sides of the flag.

Switzerland Politics