People in Lucerne, Switzerland. Editorial credit: mezzotint / Shutterstock.com

Switzerland

The political system of Switzerland is characterized by decentralization and direct democracy. The multilingual state is typically governed by a broad coalition that includes members from the four largest political parties represented in the parliament. The 26 cantons that make up the Swiss Confederation have considerable decision-making power, and the public is often asked to weigh in on policy matters through referendums. Civil liberties are generally respected in the country, though laws and policies adopted in recent years have reflected a growing wariness of immigration and minority groups of foreign origin, which sometimes face societal discrimination.

An opposition demonstrator plays the violin during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas. Credit: FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images.

Freedom in the World — Switzerland Country Report

Switzerland is rated Free in Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.