Switzerland flag Switzerland: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of Switzerland

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President of the Swiss Confederation: Ignazio CASSIS (since 1 January 2022)
Vice President: Alain BERSET (since 1 January 2022)
Next Election Dates
President: December 2022
National Council: October 2023
Council of States: each canton decides its own election dates, but these usually take place at the same time as those of the National Council.
Current Political Context
For decades, the seven-seat Federal Council has been dominated by the same four main parties: the SVP, the Social Democrats, the FDP liberals and the CVP. The Green Party has been gaining momentum and overtook the CVP getting for the first time a spot in the coalition that governs Switzerland (marking the largest leap by a political party in Swiss politics since 1919).
During 2021 much of the political scene was dominated by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, after seven years of negotiations, Switzerland decided to end the talks with the EU without reaching a final agreement on a treaty that would replace the 120 bilateral deals currently enforced with one framework deal. The Swiss government has highlighted four issues: EU citizens’ access to Swiss labour markets, the protection of salary levels, access to welfare, and state aid rules.
Ignazio Cassis of the FDP-The Liberals Party will be the presiding the Federal Council in 2022.
Main Political Parties
The main parties in the Country are:

- Swiss People's Party (SVP/UDC): populist right-wing group; strong base in German-speaking areas of Switzerland
- Social Democratic Party (SP/PS): centre-left
- Free Democratic Party (FDP/PRD/PLR): centre-right
- Christian Democratic Party (CVP/PDC/PPD): centre-right
- Conservative Democratic Party ( BDP): centre-right
- Green Party (PES): environmentalist and pacifist party
- Green Liberals (GL): left-wing environmentalist group
- Evangelical People's Party (EVP): centre-left
- Ticino League (Lega): right wing, regionalism
- Geneva Citizens Movement (MCG): right wing
- Swiss Party of Labour (PdA): far-left, communist
- Christian Social Party of Obwalden (CSP OW): centre-christian-left
- Christian Social Party (CSP/ PCS): centre-left
- Federal Democratic Union (EDU/UDF): right wing

Executive Power
The 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. 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 the Council of States (upper house) and the National Council (lower house). The former is comprised of 46 seats, with two members selected from each of the 20 cantons (states/provinces) and one from each of the six half-canton. The National Council is comprised of 200 seats, with its members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation. Members of both the Council of States and the National Council 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.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
10/180

Source: World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Free
Political Freedom:
1/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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Latest Update: May 2022

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