Switzerland's 18 Living Ex-Presidents: A Political Record| MENAFN.COM

Thursday, 08 December 2022 12:36 GMT

Switzerland's 18 Living Ex-Presidents: A Political Record


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  • Very little. It's largely a trick question. Switzerland's unique rotating one-year presidency can't be compared with the head of government in any other country (the chancellor in Germany and prime minister in Britain). 

    Did you know, for example, that the Swiss president never pays a state visit? 

    The Swiss president is neither the head of state nor the head of government. The seven-person cabinet, also known as the federal council, is considered a collective head of state and government. The president might be“primus inter pares” – the first among equals – but he or she doesn't have any greater power than the rest of the cabinet. 

    What's more, during their year in office presidents remain head of their department. Ignazio Cassis, for example, is both president and foreign minister in 2022. 

    It's one for all and all for one: the cabinet does everything together, from taking a stance on policies to signing treaties and receiving visiting heads of state (although not all seven ministers are always present). 

    So what's the point in the Swiss president? What do they actually do? The include chairing cabinet meetings and undertaking special representational duties. They give speeches at New Year and on Swiss National Day, August 1, which are broadcast on television and radio ( ). They also welcome the diplomatic corps – all foreign ambassadors to Switzerland – at a New Year's reception. 

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