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Switzerland

Swiss Confederation

Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft (German)

Confédération Suisse (French)

Confederazione Svizzera (Italian)

Political Status: Neutral confederation since 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 on January 1, 2000 (as adopted April 18, 1999).

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

Population: 7,204,055 (2000C); 7,548,000 (2007E); figures reference resident population, including noncitizens.

Major Urban Centers (2005E): BERN (118,000), Zürich (327,000), Geneva (177,000), Basel (163,000), Lausanne (109,000).

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

Monetary Unit: Swiss Franc (market rate November 1, 2008: 1.17 francs = $1US).

President: Pascal COUCHEPIN (Radical Democratic Party), elected by the Federal Assembly on December 13, 2007, to succeed Micheline CALMY-REY (Social Democratic Party) for ...

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