Swiss Confederation

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German)

Confédération Suisse (French)

Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)

Political Status: Neutral confederation from 1291; equivalent of federal system embodied in constitution of May 29, 1874. A new constitution, which revised and reformed that of 1874, went into effect January 1, 2000 (as adopted April 18, 1999).

Area: 15,943 sq. mi. (41,293 sq. km.).

Population: 7,204,055 (2000C); 7,462,000 (2004E); Figures reference resident population, including noncitizens.

Major Urban Centers (2003): BERN (122,000), Zürich (342,800), Basel (164,800), Geneva (178,500), Lausanne (116,800).

Official Language: German, French, Italian. Romansch is recognized as a national language but without full official status.

Monetary Unit: Swiss Franc (market rate July 1, 2005: 1.28 francs = $1US).

President: Samuel SCHMID (Swiss People's Party); elected by the Federal Assembly on December 8, 2004, to succeed Joseph DEISS (Christian Democratic People's Party) for ...

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