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Executive branch: the Federal Council

the Federal Council 2015 (in new window)

the Federal Council 2015

The Federal Council, Switzerland's government, has seven members. Each year, a different member becomes Federal President. The post confers no special powers or privileges, and the president continues to administer his or her own department. The four strongest parties are represented in the council.

The Federal Council is assisted and advised on the running of its business by the Federal Chancellery. The Chancellor attends weekly cabinet meetings in a consultative capacity, and is sometimes referred to unofficially as "the 8th councillor."

Federal Councillors are much more accessible than their equivalents in most countries. The Swiss are used to seeing them travelling around by tram or in the train just like anyone else - much to the amazement of many foreign security officials accompanying leaders on state visits. People can talk to them without being hustled away by security guards.

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