|Federal Council of Switzerland|
Federal Chancellor Corina Casanova also pictured
|Appointer||Swiss Federal Assembly|
|Term length||4 years|
|Inaugural||12 December 2007|
The Swiss Federal Council (German: Schweizerischer Bundesrat, French: Conseil fédéral suisse, Italian: Consiglio federale svizzero, Romansh: Cussegl federal svizzer) is the seven-member executive council which constitutes the federal government of Switzerland and serves as the Swiss collective head of state. Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (born 16 March 1956) is a Swiss lawyer politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2008 Moritz Leuenberger (born 21 September 1946 is a Swiss Politician, Lawyer, member of the Swiss Federal Council since 1995 and President Micheline Calmy-Rey (born July 8, 1945) is a Swiss politician member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2002 Pascal Couchepin (born April 5, 1942) is a Swiss Politician, member of the Swiss Federal Council since 1998 and President of Samuel Schmid (born January 8, 1947) has been a member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2000. Doris Leuthard (born 10 April 1963) is a Swiss politician and lawyer Hans-Rudolf Merz (born 10 November 1942 is a Swiss politician of the Free Democratic Party (FDP/PRD and Member of the Swiss Federal Council (since 2003 Corina Casanova (born 4 January 1956) is the Federal Chancellor of Switzerland. The Federal Assembly (in German, Bundesversammlung; in French, Assemblée fédérale; in Italian, Assemblea federale Term of office refers to the length of time a person (usually a politician serves in a particular office An inauguration is a ceremony of formal Investiture whereby an individual assumes an office or position of authority or power Year 1848 ( MDCCCXLVIII) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Leap The German language (de ''Deutsch'') is a West Germanic language and one of the world's major languages. French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people Italian ( or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken by about 63 million people as a First language, primarily in Italy. Romansh (also spelled Romansch, Rumants(ch or Romanche) is one of the four official languages of Switzerland, along with German, For the government of parliamentary systems see Executive (government. Switzerland (English pronunciation; Schweiz Swiss German: Schwyz or Schwiiz Suisse Svizzera Svizra officially the Swiss Confederation Head of state is the generic term for the individual or collective office that serves as the chief public representative of a Monarchic or Republican Nation-state
While the entire council is responsible for leading the federal administration of Switzerland, each Councillor heads one of the seven federal executive departments. The federal administration of Switzerland (Bundesverwaltung Administration fédérale Amministrazione federale is the ensemble of agencies that constitute together with the The current members of the Federal Council are, in order of seniority:
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The Federal Council was instituted by the 1848 Federal Constitution as the "supreme executive and directorial authority of the Confederation". Switzerland (English pronunciation; Schweiz Swiss German: Schwyz or Schwiiz Suisse Svizzera Svizra officially the Swiss Confederation Politics of Switzerland takes place in the framework of a multi-party federal parliamentary democratic Republic, whereby the Human rights are comprehensively guaranteed in Switzerland, one of Europe's oldest democracies. The Federal Constitution of 18 April 1999 (Bundesverfassung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft Constitution fédérale de la Confédération suisse Constituzione federale della Confederazione This is a list of members of the Swiss Federal Council (Schweizerischer Bundesrat Conseil fédéral suisse Consiglio federale svizzero Cussegl federal svizzer Moritz Leuenberger (born 21 September 1946 is a Swiss Politician, Lawyer, member of the Swiss Federal Council since 1995 and President Pascal Couchepin (born April 5, 1942) is a Swiss Politician, member of the Swiss Federal Council since 1998 and President of The President of the Confederation (Bundespräsident Président de la Confédération Presidente della Confederazione President da la Confederaziun is the presiding member Samuel Schmid (born January 8, 1947) has been a member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2000. Micheline Calmy-Rey (born July 8, 1945) is a Swiss politician member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2002 Hans-Rudolf Merz (born 10 November 1942 is a Swiss politician of the Free Democratic Party (FDP/PRD and Member of the Swiss Federal Council (since 2003 The President of the Confederation (Bundespräsident Président de la Confédération Presidente della Confederazione President da la Confederaziun is the presiding member Doris Leuthard (born 10 April 1963) is a Swiss politician and lawyer Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (born 16 March 1956) is a Swiss lawyer politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council since 2008 The Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler(in Chancelier(-ière fédéral(e Cancelliere(-a della Confederazione Chancelier(a federal(a is the head of the Federal Chancellery Corina Casanova (born 4 January 1956) is the Federal Chancellor of Switzerland. The federal administration of Switzerland (Bundesverwaltung Administration fédérale Amministrazione federale is the ensemble of agencies that constitute together with the The Federal Assembly (in German, Bundesversammlung; in French, Assemblée fédérale; in Italian, Assemblea federale The Council of States of Switzerland (Ständerat Conseil des Etats Consiglio degli Stati Cussegl dals Stadis is the smaller chamber of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland This is a list of members of the Swiss Council of States of the 48th legislature (2007-2011 The National Council of Switzerland (Nationalrat Conseil National Consiglio Nazionale Cussegl Naziunal is the larger Chamber of the parliament with 200 seats This is a list of the 200 members of the Swiss National Council for the 2007 - 2011 legislative term current as of 25 November 2007 Political parties in Switzerland lists political parties in Switzerland. Elections in Switzerland gives information on Election and election results in Switzerland. Voting in Switzerland is the process by which Swiss citizens make decisions about Governance and elect Officials Voting takes place over the week-end with Legislative elections in the Swiss Confederation were held on 19 October 2003. Elections to the Swiss Federal Assembly, the federal parliament of Switzerland, were held on Sunday October 21, 2007. The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland (Bundesgericht Tribunal fédéral Tribunale federale Tribunal federal is the Supreme court of Switzerland. The Federal Criminal Court of Switzerland ( FCC; Bundesstrafgericht Tribunal pénal fédéral Tribunale penale federale Tribunal federal penala is the court The Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland ( FAC; Bundesverwaltungsgericht Tribunal administratif fédéral Tribunale amministrativo federale Tribunal Switzerland took part in negotiating the European Economic Area agreement with the European Union. The foreign relations of Switzerland are the primary responsibility of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the states of the Federal state of Switzerland. Municipalities (sometimes called communities or communes, after the French/Italian names are the smallest government division in Switzerland and are called Information on politics by country is available for every Country, including both De jure and De facto independent The Federal Constitution of 18 April 1999 (Bundesverfassung der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft Constitution fédérale de la Confédération suisse Constituzione federale della Confederazione 
When the Constitution was written, constitutional democracy was still in its infancy, and the founding fathers of Switzerland had little in the way of examples. History In ancient times history of India Greece, and Rome had governments similar to constitutional democracies Founding Fathers are persons instrumental in the establishment of an Institution, usually a political institution especially those connected to the origination of its Ideals While they drew heavily on the U.S. Constitution for the organisation of the federal state as a whole, they opted for the collegial rather than the presidential system for the executive branch of government. The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme Law of the United States. Collegiality is the relationship between colleagues Definition of collegiality Colleagues are those explicitly united in a common Purpose and respecting President is a Title leaders of Organizations companies, Trade unions universities, and countries. This accommodated the long tradition of the rule of collective bodies in Switzerland. Under the Ancien Régime, the cantons of the Old Swiss Confederacy had been governed by councils of pre-eminent citizens since time immemorial, and the later Helvetic Republic (with its equivalent Directorate) as well as the cantons that had given themselves liberal constitutions since the 1830s had also had good experiences with that mode of governance. The Early Modern period of Swiss history lasting from formal independence in 1648 to the French invasion of 1798 came to be referred as The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the states of the Federal state of Switzerland. The Old Swiss Confederacy was the precursor of modern-day Switzerland. In Swiss history, the Helvetic Republic ( 1798 &ndash 1803) represented an early attempt to impose a central authority over Switzerland, 
Today, only two other states, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and San Marino have collective rather than unitary heads of state. Bosnia and Herzegovina ( Latin script: Bosna i Hercegovina, Cyrillic script: Босна и Херцеговина is a country on the Balkan The Most Serene Republic of San Marino (Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino is a country in the Apennine Mountains. Head of state is the generic term for the individual or collective office that serves as the chief public representative of a Monarchic or Republican Nation-state The collegial system of government found widespread adoption in modern democracies in the form of cabinet government with collective responsibility. Democracy is a form of government in which the supreme power is held completely by the people under a free electoral system
The 1848 constitutional provision providing for the Federal Council — and indeed the institution of the Council itself — has remained unchanged to this day, even though Swiss society has changed profoundly since. The Federal Council thus represents one of the longest traditions of continuous democratic government in the world, comparable to that of the offices of the British Prime Minister or the U.S. President. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the political leader of the United Kingdom The President of the United States is the Head of state and Head of government of the United States and is the highest political official in United States by Nonetheless, some significant developments deserve to be mentioned here.
The 1848 Constitution was one of the few successes of the democratic revolutions of 1848. The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout the European In Switzerland, the democratic movement was led — and the new federal state decisively shaped — by the Radicals (presently the Free Democratic Party, FDP). The Free Democratic Party of Switzerland (Freisinnig-Demokratische Partei der Schweiz (FDP Parti radical-démocratique suisse (PRD Partito liberale radicale svizzero (PLR Partida After winning the Sonderbundskrieg, the Swiss civil war, against the Catholic cantons, the Radicals at first used their majority in the Federal Assembly to fill all the seats on the Federal Council. The Sonderbund Swiss civil war of November 1847 ensued after the Sonderbund (meaning "separate alliance" in German) was created in 1845 A civil war is a War between a State and domestic political actors that are in control of some part of the territory claimed by the state The Federal Assembly (in German, Bundesversammlung; in French, Assemblée fédérale; in Italian, Assemblea federale This made their former war opponents, the Catholic-Conservatives (presently the Christian Democratic People's Party, CVP), the opposition party. The Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland (Also called Christian-Democratic Party Christlich Demokratische Volkspartei (CVP Parti Démocrate-Chrétien Suisse Parliamentary opposition is a form of political opposition to a designated government particularly in a Westminster -based Parliamentary system Only after Emil Welti's resignation in 1891 after a failed referendum on railway nationalisation did the Radicals decide to co-opt the Conservatives by supporting the election of Josef Zemp. Emil Welti ( April 23, 1825 - February 24, 1899) was a Swiss politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council (1866-1891 Swiss Federal Railways ( German: SBB Schweizerische Bundesbahnen French: CFF Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses Italian: FFS Ferrovie federali svizzere Nationalization, also spelled nationalisation, is the act of taking an industry or assets into the Public ownership of a national government A co-option or more often co-optation is an election where members of a Committee (or similar group vote in order to fill a vacancy on that committee Josef Zemp ( September 2, 1834 - December 8, 1908) was a Swiss Politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council
The process of involving all major political movements of Switzerland into the responsibility of government continued during the first half of the 20th century. The rise of Switzerland as a federal state began on September 12 1848 with the creation of a federal constitution which was created in response to a 27-day civil war in Switzerland It was hastened by the FDP's and CVP's gradually diminishing voter shares, complemented by the rise of new parties of lesser power at the ends of the political spectrum. A political spectrum (plural Spectra) is a way of modeling different political positions by placing them upon one or more geometric axes These were the Social Democratic Party (SP) on the Left and the Party of Farmers, Traders and Independents (BGB; presently the People's Party, SVP) on the Right. The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (also rendered as Socialist Party of Switzerland Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz (SP Parti socialiste suisse (PS Partito Socialista The Swiss People's Party (SVP also known as the Democratic Union of the Centre (UDC is a Political party in Switzerland. In Politics, right-wing, the political right, and the Right are positions that uphold traditional values and/or authorities In due course, the CVP received its second seat in 1919 with Jean-Marie Musy, while the BGB joined the Council in 1929 with Rudolf Minger. Jean-Marie Musy ( April 10, 1876 - April 19, 1952) was a Swiss politician Rudolf Minger ( November 13, 1881 - August 23, 1955) was a Swiss politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council (1929-1940 In 1943, during World War II, the Social Democrats were also temporarily included with Ernst Nobs. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including Ernst Nobs ( July 14, 1886 - March 15, 1957) was a Swiss politician
The 1959 elections, following the resignation of four Councillors, finally established the Zauberformel, the "magical formula" that determined the Council's composition during the rest of the 20th century and established the present nature of the Council as a permanent, voluntary grand coalition. In Swiss politics the magic formula (German Zauberformel, French formule magique, Italian formula magica) is an arithmetic formula for dividing In Swiss politics the magic formula (German Zauberformel, French formule magique, Italian formula magica) is an arithmetic formula for dividing A grand coalition is a Coalition government in a Multi-party Parliamentary system where the two largest political parties unite in a coalition  In approximate relation to the parties' respective strength in the Federal Assembly, the seats were distributed as follows:
During that time, the FDP and CVP very slowly but steadily kept losing voter share to the SVP and SPS, respectively, which overtook the older parties in popularity during the 1990s. The governmental balance was finally upset after the 2003 elections, when the now-powerful SVP demanded a CVP Council seat for their leader Christoph Blocher and threatened to otherwise leave the government. Christoph Blocher (born 11 October 1940, Schaffhausen, Switzerland) is a Swiss Politician, Industrialist, and The Assembly (including many CVP representatives) acceded to that demand and ousted CVP Councillor Ruth Metzler-Arnold. Ruth Metzler-Arnold (born May 23, 1964) is a Swiss politician and former Member of the Swiss Federal Council (1999-2003 It remains to be seen whether this shift in composition endures, or whether the Council's composition will remain contested and changeable.
Women, who gained suffrage on the federal level as late as 1971, remain not well represented on the Council. In 1983, the non-election of the first official female candidate, Lilian Uchtenhagen and again in 1993 the non-election of Christiane Brunner (both SP/PS), caused a stir. Christiane Brunner (b Geneva, March 23, 1947) is a Swiss female Politician and a licensed Lawyer. The Social Democrats each time considered withdrawing from the Council altogether. 
In total, only six out of 109 Councillors (or out of 27 Councillors elected since 1971) have been women:
Until 1999, the Constitution mandated that no canton could have more than one representative on the Federal Council. Until 1987, the place of origin was used to determine which canton a Federal Councilor was from. After 1987, the place of residence (or, for councilors who were previously members of the Federal Assembly or of a Canton's legislative or executive body, the canton from which they were elected) became the determinant factor.  Nothing prevented candidates from moving to politically expedient cantons, though, and the rule was abandoned in 1999. Since then, the Constitution has mandated an equitable distribution of seats among the cantons and language regions of the country, without setting concrete quotas. Whenever a member resigns, s/he is generally replaced by someone who is not only from the same party, but also the same language region. In 2006, however, Joseph Deiss, a French Swiss, resigned and was succeeded by Doris Leuthard, a German-speaking Swiss. Joseph Deiss (born January 18, 1946) is an economist Swiss politician and a member of the Christian Democratic People's Party (CVP/PDC. French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people Doris Leuthard (born 10 April 1963) is a Swiss politician and lawyer
Historically, at least two Council seats have always been held by French- or Italian-speaking Swiss, and no canton has in fact ever had more than one of its citizens on the Federal Council. Italian ( or lingua italiana) is a Romance language spoken by about 63 million people as a First language, primarily in Italy. From 2003 to 2007, however, two of the members of the Federal Council, Moritz Leuenberger and Christoph Blocher, have resided in the Canton of Zürich. Moritz Leuenberger (born 21 September 1946 is a Swiss Politician, Lawyer, member of the Swiss Federal Council since 1995 and President Christoph Blocher (born 11 October 1940, Schaffhausen, Switzerland) is a Swiss Politician, Industrialist, and The Canton of Zürich (German Kanton) has a population of about 1
The current language makeup of the Council is five German-speakers and two French-speakers; an Italian-speaker has not served on the Council since 1999.
Each year, one of the seven Councillors is elected by the Federal Assembly as President of the Confederation. The Federal Assembly (in German, Bundesversammlung; in French, Assemblée fédérale; in Italian, Assemblea federale The President of the Confederation (Bundespräsident Président de la Confédération Presidente della Confederazione President da la Confederaziun is the presiding member The Federal Assembly also elects a Vice President. By convention, the positions of President and Vice President rotate annually, each Councillor thus becoming Vice President and then President every seven years while in office.
According to the Swiss order of precedence, the President of the Confederation is the highest-ranking Swiss official. The Swiss Order of precedence is a hierarchy of important positions within the government of Switzerland. He or she presides over Council meetings and carries out certain representative functions that, in other countries, are the business of the Head of State. Head of state is the generic term for the individual or collective office that serves as the chief public representative of a Monarchic or Republican Nation-state In urgent situations where a Council decision cannot be made in time, he or she is empowered to act on behalf of the whole Council. Apart from that, though, he or she is a primus inter pares, having no power above and beyond the other six Councillors. Primus inter pares ( Latin) or First among equals is a phrase which indicates that a person is the most senior of a group of people
The President is not the Swiss head of state (this function is carried out by the Council in corpore, that is, in its entirety). Head of state is the generic term for the individual or collective office that serves as the chief public representative of a Monarchic or Republican Nation-state However, it has recently become usual that the President acts and is recognized as head of state while conducting official visits abroad, as the Council (also by convention) does not leave the country in corpore. More often, though, official visits abroad are carried out by the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA (Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten Département fédéral des affaires étrangères Dipartimento federale Visiting heads of state are received by the Federal Council in corpore.
The Federal Council operates mainly through weekly meetings, which are held each Wednesday at the Bundeshaus in Bern, the seat of the Swiss federal government. The Federal Palace of Switzerland ( German: Bundeshaus, French: Palais fédéral, Italian: Palazzo federale; Latin The city of Berne or Bern (, Berne, Berna, Romansh: Berna, Bernese German: Bärn) is the Bundesstadt ( Federal Politics of Switzerland takes place in the framework of a multi-party federal parliamentary democratic Republic, whereby the
Apart from the seven Councillors, the following officials also attend the meetings:
After the meetings, the Councillors always take lunch together. The Council also meets regularly in conclave to discuss important topics at length, and annually conducts what is colloquially referred to as its "school excursion", a day trip to some attractions in the President's home canton. The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the states of the Federal state of Switzerland. In that and other respects, the Council operates not unlike a board of directors of a major corporation. A corporation is a separate legal entity usually used to conduct business
Each Federal Councillor heads a government department, much like the ministers in the governments of other countries. A minister or a secretary is a Politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional Government. Colloquially and by the press, they are often referred to as ministers, e. g. the head of the DDPS as "minister of defence", even though no such post officially exists. The military of Switzerland, officially known as the Swiss Armed Forces, is a unique institution somewhere between a Militia and a regular army. However, as Council members, they are not only responsible for their own department, but also for the business of their colleagues' departments as well, and for the conduct of the government and the federal administration as a whole.
Decisions to be taken by the Council are always prepared by the responsible department. For example, a change in the salaries of federal employees would be proposed to the council by the head of the Federal Department of Finance, to whose department the Federal Office of Personnel belongs. The Federal Department of Finance (Eidgenössisches Finanzdepartement (EFD Département fédéral des finances is one of the seven departments of the Swiss federal government Before a vote is taken at a Council meeting, though, all proposals are circulated in writing to the heads of departments, who commission the senior career officials of their department - the heads of the Federal Offices - to prepare a written response to offer criticism and suggestions. This is called the co-report procedure (Mitberichtsverfahren/procédure de co-rapport), designed to build a wide consensus ahead of a Council meeting.
To prepare for important decisions, an additional public consultation is sometimes conducted, to which the cantons, the political parties and major interest groups are invited, and in which all members of the public can participate. The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the states of the Federal state of Switzerland. Political parties in Switzerland lists political parties in Switzerland. If a change in a federal statute is to be proposed to the Federal Assembly, this step is mandated by law. A statute is a formal written enactment of a Legislative authority that governs a Country, State, City, or County. In such cases, the consultation procedure also serves to identify political concerns that could later be the focus of a popular referendum to stop passage of the bill at issue. A referendum (plural referendums or referenda) ballot question, or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita
The decisions themselves are formally taken by voice vote by a majority of the Councillors present at a meeting. A voice vote in a Legislative body refers to a Vote taken on a topic where the participants merely respond verbally to a question with a spoken "yea" (yes However, the great majority of decisions are arrived at by consensus; even though lately there is said to be a trend towards more contentious discussions and close votes. Consensus has two common meanings One is a general agreement among the members of a given group or Community, each of which exercises some discretion in
The meetings of the Federal Council and the result of the votes taken are not open to the public, and the records remain sealed for 50 years. This has lately been the subject of some criticism. In particular, the parties at the ends of the political spectrum argue that this secrecy is contrary to the principle of transparency. A political spectrum (plural Spectra) is a way of modeling different political positions by placing them upon one or more geometric axes However, the Council has always maintained that secrecy is necessary to arrive at consensus and to preserve the collegiality and political independence of the individual Councillors. Collegiality is the relationship between colleagues Definition of collegiality Colleagues are those explicitly united in a common Purpose and respecting
Despite the secrecy rule, details of the votes and the arguments in Council are sometimes leaked to the press, resulting in (generally fruitless) investigations and criminal prosecutions of the leaking staff member. LEAK is the brand name for high-fidelity audio equipment made by H
Due to the Federal Council's unique nature as a voluntary grand coalition of political opponents, its operation is subject to numerous constitutional conventions. A grand coalition is a Coalition government in a Multi-party Parliamentary system where the two largest political parties unite in a coalition Alternative meaning Constitutional convention (political meeting A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is Most notable is the principle of collegiality; that is, the Councillors are supposed not to publicly criticise one another, even though they are often political opponents. Collegiality is the relationship between colleagues Definition of collegiality Colleagues are those explicitly united in a common Purpose and respecting In effect, they are expected to publicly support all decisions of the Council, even against their own personal opinion or that of their political party. In the eye of many observers, this convention has become rather strained after the 2003 elections (see below).
The members of the Federal Council are elected for a term of four years by both chambers of the federal parliament sitting together as the Federal Assembly. The Federal Assembly (in German, Bundesversammlung; in French, Assemblée fédérale; in Italian, Assemblea federale Each Councillor is elected individually by secret ballot by an absolute majority of votes. The secret ballot is a voting method in which a Voter 's choices are confidential An absolute majority or majority of the entire membership (in American English, a Supermajority Voting requirement is a Voting basis Every adult Swiss citizen is eligible, but in practice, only Members of Parliament or more rarely, members of Cantonal governments are nominated by the political parties and receive a substantial amount of votes. The voting is conducted in several rounds: in the first two rounds, anyone can enter their name; but in subsequent rounds, the person receiving the least votes is removed from the race until one candidate gains an absolute majority.
With Council seats allocated to parties by unwritten agreement (see above), Federal Council elections generally are unexciting, pleasant affairs. Usually, the party which has a seat to fill presents two candidates with mainstream viewpoints to the United Federal Assembly, which then chooses one. This was not so, however, during the 2003 election, which was the most controversial in recent memory (see also above).
Once elected, Councillors remain members of their political parties, but hold no leading office with them. In fact, they usually maintain a certain political distance from the party leadership, because under the rules of collegiality, they will often have to publicly promote a Council decision which does not match the political conviction of their party (or of themselves). Collegiality is the relationship between colleagues Definition of collegiality Colleagues are those explicitly united in a common Purpose and respecting
Once elected for a four-year-term, Federal Councillors can neither be voted out of office by a motion of no confidence nor can they be impeached. A motion of no confidence (also vote of no confidence, censure motion, no-confidence motion, or confidence motion) is a Parliamentary motion Impeachment is the first of two stages in a specific process for a legislative body to forcibly remove a Government official Re-election is possible for an indefinite number of terms, and it has historically been extremely rare for Parliament not to re-elect a sitting Councillor. This has only happened four times - to Ulrich Ochsenbein in 1854, to Jean-Jacques Challet-Venel in 1872, to Ruth Metzler-Arnold in 2003 and to Christoph Blocher in 2007. Ulrich Ochsenbein ( November 24, 1811 - November 3, 1890) was a Swiss politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council Jean-Jacques Challet-Venel ( May 11, 1811 - August 6, 1893) was a Swiss politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council Ruth Metzler-Arnold (born May 23, 1964) is a Swiss politician and former Member of the Swiss Federal Council (1999-2003 Christoph Blocher (born 11 October 1940, Schaffhausen, Switzerland) is a Swiss Politician, Industrialist, and In practice, therefore, Councillors serve until they decide to resign and retire to private life, usually after three to five terms of office.
Unlike most senior members of government in other countries, the Federal Councillors are not entitled to an official residence. An official residence is the residence at which Heads of state, Heads of government, gubernatorial or other senior figures officially Mostly, they have chosen to rent apartments or hotel suites in Bern (at their own expense); the only contemporary exception being Moritz Leuenberger, who daily commutes by train from Zürich to Bern. Moritz Leuenberger (born 21 September 1946 is a Swiss Politician, Lawyer, member of the Swiss Federal Council since 1995 and President Zürich (, Zürich German: Züri, Zurich, Zurigo; in English generally Zurich) is the largest city in Switzerland and capital of the However, they are entitled to use the Federal Council's country estate, Lohn, for holidays; this estate is also used to host official guests of the Swiss Confederation. The rural palace of Lohn in Kehrsatz, near Bern, Switzerland, is the official estate of the Swiss Federal Council, the government
While Councillors can draw on an Army security detail if they need personal protection (in particular during official events), it is more usual to encounter them without any escort at all in the streets, restaurants and tramways of Bern. The military of Switzerland, officially known as the Swiss Armed Forces, is a unique institution somewhere between a Militia and a regular army. A tram, tramcar, trolley, trolley car, or streetcar is a railborne vehicle, of lighter weight and construction than a Train Councillors are also entitled to a personal bailiff (Weibel) who accompanies them, in a colourful uniform, to official events. Bailiff (from Late Latin baiulivus, Adjectival form of baiulus) is a Governor or Custodian (cf This tradition is directly traceable — through the republican governments of the ancient Swiss cantons — back to the lictors of the ancient Roman Republic. The lictor, derived from the Latin ligare (to bind was a member of a special class of Roman civil servant with special tasks of attending and guarding The Roman Republic was the phase of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by a Republican form of government a period which began with the overthrow of the
The spouses of Councillors do not play an official part in the business of government, apart from accompanying the Councillors to official receptions.
Federal Councillors draw a yearly remuneration of about CHF 400,000 (circa EUR 256,000 / USD 305,000). Remuneration is pay or salary typically Monetary payment for services rendered as in an Employment. The franc ( German: Franken, French and Romansh: franc, Italian: franco; code: CHF Please update other articles as well to avoid contradiction within Wikipedia e The United States dollar ( sign: $; code: USD) is the unit of Currency of the United States; it has also been  After completing a full term of office, they are entitled to a perennial yearly pension of half that amount after leaving office.
While Councillors are forbidden by law to hold any other post during their term of office, it is not unusual for them to accept lucrative business engagements after leaving office, e. g. , on the board of directors of major Swiss corporations.
Federal Councillors, like Members of Parliament, enjoy absolute legal immunity for all statements made in their official capacity.
For crimes and misdemeanors not relating to their official capacity, they can be criminally prosecuted only with the permission of the Federal Council as a whole while in office. The prosecutor can appeal a refusal to grant permission to the Federal Assembly. 
Prosecution for crimes and misdemeanors that do relate to the Councillors' official capacity requires the assent of the Federal Assembly. In such cases, Parliament can also suspend the Councillor in office (but not actually remove her or him). 
According to statements to the media by a Federal Chancellory official, in none of the few cases of accusations against a Federal Councillor has the permission to prosecute ever been granted. Such cases usually involved statements considered offensive by members of the public. However, one unnamed Councillor involved in a traffic accident immediately prior to his date of resignation was reported to have voluntarily waived his immunity, and Councillor Elisabeth Kopp decided to resign upon facing an inquiry over allegations of secrecy violations. Elisabeth Kopp (born December 16, 1936 in Zürich) is a Swiss politician and the first woman elected to the Swiss Federal Council
Historically, the collegial government of Switzerland has been assessed both internationally and nationally as exceptionally competent and stable. The Federal Council as a whole (although not individual members) has consistently maintained public approval and confidence rates in excess of sixty percent, possibly also because under the Swiss system of direct democracy, voters can vent their displeasure with government decisions when deciding individual issues at the ballot box. Direct Democracy is a movement within the British Conservative Party dedicated to localism and Constitutional reform as a means of reviving public
However, lately there has been a growing contention that the Federal Council is often too slow to respond to the needs of the moment, too resistant to change and too weak to lead the powerful federal bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is the structure and set of regulations in place to control activity usually in large organizations and government Various changes have been proposed to address these issues, including expanding the powers of the presidency, expanding the Federal Council itself or adding a second layer of ministers between the Council and the departments. None of these proposals has yet borne fruit, however.
After the 2003 elections, many observers have also noted that many present councillors tend to behave as self-centered alpha males (or alpha females, in the case of Councillor Calmy-Rey) instead of as team players as has historically been the case. In Social animals the alpha male is the individual in the community to whom the others follow and defer A general dictionary defines teamwork as a " Cooperative or coordinated effort on the part of a group of persons acting together as a team or in the interests of a common They point to the visible mutual animosity and breaches of collegiality notable between Christoph Blocher and Pascal Couchepin / Moritz Leuenberger, respectively. Christoph Blocher (born 11 October 1940, Schaffhausen, Switzerland) is a Swiss Politician, Industrialist, and Pascal Couchepin (born April 5, 1942) is a Swiss Politician, member of the Swiss Federal Council since 1998 and President of Moritz Leuenberger (born 21 September 1946 is a Swiss Politician, Lawyer, member of the Swiss Federal Council since 1995 and President Others, however, contend that such confrontations have always occurred, but now tend to be hyped by media eager to report on juicy political conflicts. "Popular press" redirects here note that the University of Wisconsin Press publishes under the imprint "The Popular Press"
If Switzerland were ever to join the European Union (which as of 2006 does not appear likely to happen in the next five to ten years), it would certainly have to reform its system of governance and direct democracy in order to allow its members of government to make binding decisions at the European Council level. The European Union ( EU) is a political and economic union of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in The European Council (referred to as a European Summit) is the highest political body of the European Union.