Switzerland is based on a Federal Constitution (basic law of the state) and is therefore a constitutional state. Switzerland is a direct democracy, because the citizens play a major role in jointly deciding public matters. Switzerland’s direct democracy is regarded as an international example.
It is also federal because it consists of cantons, which are largely independent. Switzerland now has 26 cantons, six of which are half cantons. They differ in size and in terms of their inhabitants' language and religious denomination: Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden (half cantons), Glarus, Zug, Fribourg, Solothurn, Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft (half cantons), Schaffhausen, Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden (half cantons), St. Gallen, Grisons, Aargau, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Neuenburg, Geneva and Jura.
Swiss democracy is based on the Swiss Federal Constitution and recognises a division of powers. This means that the state’s powers are spread across several government bodies. At national level this appears as follows:
Like the Federation, the 26 cantons in Switzerland also operate a division of powers, although its structure can differ. There are cantonal parliaments (not in every canton), cantonal governments and cantonal courts.