Federal Council (Switzerland)
The Federal Council is the seven-member executive council that constitutes the federal government of the Swiss Confederation and serves as the collective head of state and of government of Switzerland. While the entire council is responsible for leading the federal administration of Switzerland, each Councillor heads one of the seven federal executive departments; the position of Federal President rotates among the seven Councillors on a yearly basis, with one year's Vice President becoming the next year's President. Ueli Maurer is the incumbent president of the council since 1 January 2019; the current members of the Federal Council are, in order of seniority: The Federal Council was instituted by the 1848 Federal Constitution as the "supreme executive and directorial authority of the Confederation". When the Constitution was written, constitutional democracy was still in its infancy, the founding fathers of Switzerland had little in the way of examples. While they drew 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.
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, the Helvetic Republic as well as the cantons that had given themselves liberal constitutions since the 1830s had had good experiences with that mode of governance. Today, only three other states and Herzegovina, Andorra and San Marino, have collective rather than unitary heads of state; however the collegial system of government has found widespread adoption in modern democracies in the form of cabinet government with collective responsibility. The 1848 constitutional provision providing for the Federal Council – and indeed the institution of the Council itself – has remained unchanged to this day though Swiss society has changed profoundly since; the 1848 Constitution was one of the few successes of the Europe-wide democratic revolutions of 1848. In Switzerland, the democratic movement was led – and the new federal state decisively shaped – by the Radicals.
After winning the Sonderbund 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. This made the Catholic-Conservatives, the opposition party. 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; the process of involving all major political movements of Switzerland into the responsibility of government continued during the first half of the 20th century. It was hastened by the FDP's and CVP's diminishing voter shares, complemented by the rise of new parties of lesser power at the ends of the political spectrum; these were the Social Democratic Party on the Left and the Party of Farmers and Independents on the Right. 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. In 1943, during World War II, the Social Democrats were temporarily included with Ernst Nobs.
The 1959 elections, following the resignation of four Councillors established the Zauberformel, the "magical formula" that determined the Council's composition during the rest of the 20th century and established the long-standing nature of the Council as a permanent, voluntary grand coalition. In approximate relation to the parties' respective strength in the Federal Assembly, the seats were distributed as follows: Free Democratic Party: 2 members, Christian Democratic People's Party: 2 members, Social Democratic Party: 2 members, Swiss People's Party: 1 member. During that time, the FDP and CVP slowly but kept losing voter share to the SVP and SP which overtook the older parties in popularity during the 1990s; the governmental balance was changed after the 2003 elections, when the SVP was granted a Council seat for their leader Christoph Blocher that had belonged to the CVP's Ruth Metzler. Due to controversies surrounding his conduct in office, a narrow Assembly majority did not reelect Blocher in 2007 and chose instead Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, a more moderate SVP politician, against party policy.
This led to a split of the SVP in 2008. After liberal regional SVP groups including Federal Councillors Widmer-Schlumpf and Samuel Schmid founded a new Conservative Democratic Party, the SVP was left in opposition for the first time since 1929, but returned into the Council with the election of Ueli Maurer on 10 December 2008, who regained the seat held by Schmid, who had resigned; the SVP regained its second seat on the Council in 2015, when Widmer-Schlumpf decided to resign after the SVP's large election gains in the 2015 election, being replaced by Guy Parmelin. Women gained suffrage on the federal level in 1971, they remained unrepresented in the Federal Council for three further legislatures, until the 1984 election of Elisabeth Kopp. In 1983, the failed election of the first official female candidate, Lilian Uchtenhagen and again in 1993 the failed election of Christiane Brunner, was controversial and the Social Democrats each time considered withdrawing from the Council altogether. There were two female Councillors serving for the first time in 2006, three out of seve
Mauro Poggia is a Swiss-Italian politician and lawyer. He is a member of the Geneva Citizens' Movement and has been a member of the Council of State of Geneva since 2013, he served in the National Council from the October 2011 election until 2013. A member of the Christian Democratic People's Party, Poggia left to join the MCG in 2009, he was elected to the Grand Council of Geneva at the 2009 election. He was elected as the MCG's sole member of the National Council at the 2011 election, representing Geneva, he ran for the Senate of Italy in the 2008 election for the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats, seeking to represent Italians abroad. He is a convert to the religion of his wife. Profile at parlament.ch Profile at the Canton of Geneva website
Sandrine Salerno is a Swiss politician and a member of the Socialist Party. She was the Mayor of the city of Geneva from 2010-11 and 2013-14. Ms Salerno's mother was French and her father was Italian, she holds more than one passport. She has two children, she holds a master's degree in Public Administration and a bachelor's degree in Political Science, both from the University of Geneva. She was elected to Geneva's town council in 1999 and became a member of the executive in 2007. Between 1995 and 1997, she was Deputy Chief of the European Third World Centre in the human rights programme, she was Co-ordinator in the Swiss Immigrants' Contact Centre from 1997 to 2001, a researcher at Geneva University from 2001 to 2006, Deputy Head of the University Affairs unit in the Canton of Geneva's Department of Education. Ms Salerno is the fourth woman to hold office as Mayor of Geneva, her appointment as mayor is for a fixed term. She has revamped the regulations concerning rents and property management in the city and introduced new working conditions for city staff.
Salerno has been a longtime campaigner for maternity rights. In accordance with a legal decision on gender equality in June 2007 which resulted in an award of 120,000 Swiss francs to the City Council "for the promotion of equality", Salerno announced in February 2008 that she would be taking maternity leave from her post in the Geneva Department of Finance and Housing in order to bear her second child. Pierre Maudet covered for her during her confinement. Sandrine Salerno as Mayor of the city of Geneva — ville-geneve.ch Sandrine Salerno — ville-geneve.ch
Politics of Switzerland
Switzerland is a semi-direct democratic federal republic. The federal legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Federal Assembly, the National Council and the Council of States; the Federal Council holds the executive power and is composed of seven power-sharing Federal Councillors elected by the Federal Assembly. The judicial branch is headed by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, whose judges are elected by the Federal Assembly. Switzerland has a tradition of direct democracy. For any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory. In addition, the people may present a constitutional popular initiative to introduce amendments to the federal constitution; the people assume a role similar to the constitutional court, which does not exist, thus act as the guardian of the rule of law. Cantonal and municipal politics vary in the different cantons; the Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Switzerland as "full democracy" in 2016. Switzerland features a system of government not seen in any other nation: direct representation, sometimes called half-direct democracy.
Referenda on the most important laws have been used since the 1848 constitution. Amendments to the Federal Constitution of Switzerland, the joining of international organizations, or changes to federal laws that have no foundation in the constitution but will remain in force for more than one year must be approved by the majority of both the people and the cantons, a double majority. Any citizen may challenge a law, passed by parliament. If that person is able to gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days, a national vote has to be scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority of the voters whether to accept or reject the law. Any citizen may seek a decision on an amendment they want to make to the constitution. For such a federal popular initiative to be organised, the signatures of 100,000 voters must be collected within 18 months; such a federal popular initiative is formulated as a precise new text whose wording can no longer be changed by parliament and the government.
After a successful signature gathering, the federal council may create a counterproposal to the proposed amendment and put it to vote on the same day as the original proposal. Such counter-proposals are a compromise between the status quo and the wording of the initiative. Voters will decide in a national vote whether to accept the initiative amendment, the counter proposal put forward by the government if any, or both. If both are accepted, one has to additionally signal a preference. Initiatives have to be accepted by a double majority of both the popular votes and a majority of the cantons, while counter-proposals may be of legislative level and hence require only simple majority. Federalism refers to a vertical separation of powers; the aim is to avoid the concentration of power in a forum, which allows a moderation of state power and the easing of the duties of the federal state. In Switzerland, it is above all a matter of designating the independence of the cantons vis-à-vis the Confederation.
The Swiss Federal Council is a seven-member executive council that heads the federal administration, operating as a combination cabinet and collective presidency. Any Swiss citizen eligible to be a member of the National Council can be elected; the Federal Council is elected by the Federal Assembly for a four-year term. Present members are: Doris Leuthard, Guy Parmelin, Ueli Maurer, Ignazio Cassis, Simonetta Sommaruga, Johann Schneider-Ammann and Alain Berset; the ceremonial President and Vice President of the Confederation are elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one-year terms that run concurrently. The President has no powers over and above his or her six colleagues, but undertakes representative functions performed by a president or prime minister in single-executive systems; the current President and Vice President are Ueli Maurer, respectively. The Swiss executive is one of the most stable governments worldwide. Since 1848, it has never been renewed at the same time, providing a long-term continuity.
From 1959 to 2003 the Federal Council was composed of a coalition of all major parties in the same ratio: two each from the Free Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party, Christian Democratic People's Party and one from the Swiss People's Party. Changes in the council occur only if one of the members resigns; the Federal Chancellor is the head of the Federal Chancellery, which acts as the general staff of the Federal Council. The Chancellery is divided into three distinct sectors; the Chancellor is the formal head of the Federal Chancellor Sector, comprising the planning and strategy section, the Internal Services section, the political rights section, the federal crisis management training unit of the Federal Administration, the Records and Process Management section. Two sectors are headed by the Vice-Chancellors: the Federal Council sector manages the agenda of the Federal Council's meeting; this sector comprises the Section for Federal Council Affairs, the Legal Sect
Alma mater is an allegorical Latin phrase for a university, school, or college that one attended. In US usage it can mean the school from which one graduated; the phrase is variously translated as "nourishing mother", "nursing mother", or "fostering mother", suggesting that a school provides intellectual nourishment to its students. Fine arts will depict educational institutions using a robed woman as a visual metaphor. Before its current usage, alma mater was an honorific title for various Latin mother goddesses Ceres or Cybele, in Catholicism for the Virgin Mary, it entered academic usage when the University of Bologna adopted the motto Alma Mater Studiorum, which describes its heritage as the oldest operating university in the Western world. It is related to alumnus, a term used for a university graduate that means a "nursling" or "one, nourished". Although alma was a common epithet for Ceres, Cybele and other mother goddesses, it was not used in conjunction with mater in classical Latin. In the Oxford Latin Dictionary, the phrase is attributed to Lucretius' De rerum natura, where it is used as an epithet to describe an earth goddess: After the fall of Rome, the term came into Christian liturgical usage in association with the Virgin Mary.
"Alma Redemptoris Mater" is a well-known 11th century antiphon devoted to Mary. The earliest documented use of the term to refer to a university in an English-speaking country is in 1600, when the University of Cambridge printer, John Legate, began using an emblem for the university's press; the device's first-known appearance is on the title-page of William Perkins' A Golden Chain, where the Latin phrase Alma Mater Cantabrigia is inscribed on a pedestal bearing a nude, lactating woman wearing a mural crown. In English etymological reference works, the first university-related usage is cited in 1710, when an academic mother figure is mentioned in a remembrance of Henry More by Richard Ward. Many historic European universities have adopted Alma Mater as part of the Latin translation of their official name; the University of Bologna Latin name, Alma Mater Studiorum, refers to its status as the oldest continuously operating university in the world. Other European universities, such as the Alma Mater Lipsiensis in Leipzig, Germany, or Alma Mater Jagiellonica, have used the expression in conjunction with geographical or foundational characteristics.
At least one, the Alma Mater Europaea in Salzburg, Austria, an international university founded by the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in 2010, uses the term as its official name. In the United States, the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, has been called the "Alma Mater of the Nation" because of its ties to the country's founding. At Queen's University in Kingston and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia, the main student government is known as the Alma Mater Society; the ancient Roman world had many statues of the Alma Mater, some still extant. Modern sculptures are found in prominent locations on several American university campuses. For example, in the United States: there is a well-known bronze statue of Alma Mater by Daniel Chester French situated on the steps of Columbia University's Low Library. An altarpiece mural in Yale University's Sterling Memorial Library, painted in 1932 by Eugene Savage, depicts the Alma Mater as a bearer of light and truth, standing in the midst of the personified arts and sciences.
Outside the United States, there is an Alma Mater sculpture on the steps of the monumental entrance to the Universidad de La Habana, in Havana, Cuba. The statue was cast in 1919 by Mario Korbel, with Feliciana Villalón Wilson as the inspiration for Alma Mater, it was installed in its current location in 1927, at the direction of architect Raul Otero. Media related to Alma mater at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of alma mater at Wiktionary Alma Mater Europaea website
Virtual International Authority File
The Virtual International Authority File is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center. Discussion about having a common international authority started in the late 1990s. After a series of failed attempts to come up with a unique common authority file, the new idea was to link existing national authorities; this would present all the benefits of a common file without requiring a large investment of time and expense in the process. The project was initiated by the US Library of Congress, the German National Library and the OCLC on August 6, 2003; the Bibliothèque nationale de France joined the project on October 5, 2007. The project transitioned to being a service of the OCLC on April 4, 2012; the aim is to link the national authority files to a single virtual authority file. In this file, identical records from the different data sets are linked together. A VIAF record receives a standard data number, contains the primary "see" and "see also" records from the original records, refers to the original authority records.
The data are available for research and data exchange and sharing. Reciprocal updating uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting protocol; the file numbers are being added to Wikipedia biographical articles and are incorporated into Wikidata. VIAF's clustering algorithm is run every month; as more data are added from participating libraries, clusters of authority records may coalesce or split, leading to some fluctuation in the VIAF identifier of certain authority records. Authority control Faceted Application of Subject Terminology Integrated Authority File International Standard Authority Data Number International Standard Name Identifier Wikipedia's authority control template for articles Official website VIAF at OCLC
20 Minuten is a free daily newspaper in Switzerland. 20 Minuten was first published in 1999 by 20 Minuten Schweiz AG. The direct competitor metropol was available in Switzerland between 2000 and 2002. 20 Minuten is published in tabloid format. Since 2005 the newspaper has been owned by Express-Zeitung AG, jointly owned by Tamedia and Berner Zeitung. In the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, specific editions are made for the regions of Basel, Lucerne, St. Gallen and Zurich. 20 Minuten is distributed to commuters at over 150 train stations across the country. Since September 2004 the German-language edition has been the most read daily newspaper in Switzerland, surpassing Blick; the audited distribution in 2004 was 329,242 and it had a readership of an estimated 782,000. In 2010 its circulation was 494,368 copies. List of free daily newspapers List of newspapers in Switzerland Media related to 20 minutos at Wikimedia Commons Official website 20 Minuten, profile of the newspaper on the website of Tamedia