People in Lucerne, Switzerland. Editorial credit: mezzotint /


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 four of the largest political parties in the parliament. The 26 cantons of the Swiss Confederation have considerable decision-making power, and the public often weighs 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.

FIW 2021 crop 2 cover photo

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.