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President of the Swiss Confederation facts for kids

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Ueli Maurer 2011
Ueli Maurer, 93rd President of the Swiss Confederation

The President of the Swiss Confederation is the person elected by the Swiss Federal Council to chair its meetings and to represent Switzerland. The president is elected for one year, and is first among equals. It is very much a ceremonial role. The president does not have the powers of the United States President or British Prime Minister, instead the president carries out the duties of President of the Confederation at the same time as carrying out the ministerial duties as a member of the Federal Council.


Under the Swiss constitution of 1999, the Federal Council is the "highest executive authority". Although the president of the confederation has some extra duties to represent Switzerland, he is not the head of state.

All decisions are that a head of state would make are decided by a meeting of the Federal Council. For example, treaties are signed on behalf of the Federal Council, and all members of the federal council sign the "letters of credence" to introduce ambassadors sent by Switzerland to a foreign country. All ambassadors sent by a foreign country to Switzerland meet all of the members of the Federal Council, not just the President.

The President of the Confederation is sometimes called the "primus inter pares" (first equal) in the Federal Council.

Only three other countries in the world do not have one person as a head of state, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Andorra and San Marino.

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