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Switzerland

Yearbook 1999

Switzerland. According to Countryaah official website, a right-hand wind blew over Switzerland in the October parliamentary elections when the immigrant hostile Swiss People's Party (SVP, Swiss Democratic Party - Union démocratique du center) became the second largest party after the Social Democrats (SPS, Social Democratic Party of Switzerland - Party Socialiste Suisse). SPS won 51 seats and SVP 44 of the 200 seats in Parliament's lower house. The Radical Party FDP (Freisinnig-Democratic Party of Switzerland - Party of radical democratique suisse) got 43 seats and the Christian Democrats (CVP, Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland - Party of Democracy-Switzerland suisse) had to settle for 35.

1999 Switzerland

The Swiss newspapers contained a number of articles on the election about the leader of SVP's more extreme phalanx, the controversial millionaire Christoph Blocher, who became a kind of symbol of aversion to immigrants, the EU and the UN. However, it is not possible for a person to dominate Swiss politics based on consensus and compromise, where many issues are decided in direct referendums.

For 40 years, Switzerland has been ruled by the Federal Council, a unifying government with the four largest parties, which according to the so-called magic formula divides into seven rotating ministerial posts. There, SPS, FDP and CVP each had two seats while SVP had one and so it remained after the election despite Blocher claiming two seats for his party because of its electoral success. In a vote in the Federal Assembly at the end of the year, Adolf Ogi was appointed to succeed Ruth Dreifuss as head of state in 2000.

Only after severe pressure from American politicians and Jewish organizations did the Swiss banks agree in the autumn on a settlement that would pay the equivalent of SEK 10 billion in damages to the victims of the Holocaust. Those entitled to claim money must have lost assets in Swiss banks during the Holocaust, have worked in slave labor in Swiss-affiliated companies, or have refused entry to Switzerland when attempting to flee the German persecution of Jews. The application period for receiving compensation expired on December last. Christoph Blocher claimed that the Jewish organizations' threat of boycotting Swiss banks if they did not agree to pay compensation was no better than the German persecution of Jews during World War II.

In the summer, the Swiss government ordered the country's banks to block Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević's assets after he was indicted for war crimes at the United Nations War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. In September, Swiss lawyer Carla del Ponte took up the post of prosecutor at the General Court following Louise Arbor.

Switzerland - Berne

Berne

Bern, capital of Switzerland and in the canton of Bern, located in the northwestern part of the country, on the river Aare; 128,800 residents (2014). More than any other Swiss metropolis, Bern has retained its old-fashioned touch in its central oldest parts (Altstadt). The city still retains its medieval street network, and although most of the narrow houses with their projecting roofs and continuous arcades were rebuilt in the 18th century, they still have a medieval character. From the Renaissance and later there are a number of sculpted and painted fountains. The late Gothic cathedral of Saint Vincent was built in 1421-1573, but only got its 100 m high tower in the 1890s. Other older buildings in the cityscape are the Sengotic Town Hall, built in 1406–17, and the Baroque Church of the Heiliggeist Church from 1726–29. The famous clock tower Zeitglockenturm was originally a medieval city gate. Bern has several bridges across the river Aare, of which Untertorbrücke dates back to the 14th century.

Among the younger buildings are the Bundeshaus, begun in 1852 and the seat of parliament and government, as well as the neoclassical Kunstmuseum, built in 1876-79 and containing Swiss painting from the 1400s to the 1900s, including works by Paul Klee.

Bern is a commercial and financial center, and business and industry is dominated by service and administration. Several international organizations have their headquarters here, e. g. UPU. Main industrial products are chocolate, machinery, instruments and chemical products. Bern is an important railway hub, and the airport has regular connections with Zurich International Airport. The city has a university, founded in 1834, and is the seat of the Swiss National Library.

Bern was founded in 1191 in connection with the castle of Nydegg, which controlled a bridge over the river Aare. It became a free German national city in 1218 and joined the Swiss Confederation in 1353. The city's aristocracy controlled a significant surrounding country during the 18th century, but its power was broken when the city was occupied by the French in 1798. Bern became the Swiss capital of Switzerland in 1848.

 

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