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Word Count: 751
Switzerland is a republic governed under a constitution adopted on May 29 1874 and amended many times since The Swiss political system combines direct and indirect democracy with the principles of sovereignty of the people separation of powers and proportional representation In federal elections all citizens age 18 or older are eligible to vote women gained suffrage in national elections in 1971 through a referendum The electorate not only chooses its representatives but also decides important issues by means of referendums an integral part of Swiss government Constitutional amendments may be initiated by a petition of 50000 voters and must be ratified by referendums Federal legislation may also be made subject to referendums The United States likewise is a democratic government with a separation of powers safety net Proportional representation is used in the US to ensure impartial voting by the age 18 voters In Switzerland executive power is vested in the Bundesrat or Federal Council composed of seven members who are elected to four-year terms by a joint session of the bicameral parliament The council is responsible to the parliament The legislature elects a president from among the members of the council for a one-year term The constitution expressly prohibits the reelection of a president to consecutive terms of office Contrasted with Switzerland the United States is a Presidency The American voters directly elect the Executive office holder President into office while the Swiss voters have limited voice in who is President The Swiss parliament called the Federal Assembly consists of two houses the Stnderat or Council of States with 46 members two for each full canton and one for each half canton elected for varying periods at the discretion of the canton and the Nationalrat or National Council with 200 members elected for four-year terms under a system of proportional representation The Federal Tribunal at Lausanne is composed of 30 judges who are appointed for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly The court
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