World Country Switzerland

About the world country Switzerland, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: Landlocked in the Alps of central Europe, surrounded by France, Italy, Germany, and Austria. Size: 15,941 sq. mi. (41,288 sq. km.). Population: 6,300,000.

Who Really Rules: Switzerland is a multiparty parliamentary democracy, but substantial authority is left in the hands of the 23 cantons. In recent years Swiss voters, at the national level, have decided on a multitude of controversial initiative and referendum propositions.

Banking is the leading sector in the Swiss economy. The top three banks--Swiss Bank Corp., Union Bank of Switzerland, and Swiss Credit Bank--and other members of the Swiss Bankers Association control much of the industrial economy. With a history of stability and reliability and a promise of secrecy, the banks have attracted $120 billion in foreign deposits and an equal amount in other holdings. To control the banks, the Social Democratic party has qualified an initiative measure for a national ballot which would remove the shroud of banking secrecy. Switzerland is noted for its neutrality, but it is armed. In fact, it buys sophisticated weapons from the U.S. Voters, however, have rejected the formation of a national police force.

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