The republic of Switzerland, formerly a league of semi-independent states, or ‘Staatenbund,’ has become a united confederacy, or ‘Bundesstaat,’ since the year 1848. The present constitution, product of a short civil war, bears date September 12, 1848. It vests the supreme legislative and executive authority in a parliament of two chambers, a ‘Stiinderath,’ or State Council, and a ‘Nationalrath,’ or Federal Council. The first is composed of forty-lour members, chosen by the twenty-two cantons of the Confederation, two for each canton. The ‘Nationalrath’ consists of 120 representatives of the Swiss people, chosen in direct election, at the rate of one deputy for every 20,000 souls. New elections take place every three years. Every citizen of the republic who has attained the age of twenty years, is entitled to a vote; and any voter, not a clergyman, may be elected a deputy. Both chambers united are called the ‘Bundes-Versammlung,’ or Federal Assembly, and as such represent the supreme government of the republic. The chief executive authority is deputed to a ‘Bundesratli,’ or Federal Council, consisting of seven members, elected for three years, by the Federal Assembly. Every citizen who has a vote for the National Council is capable of becoming a member of the executive.
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