The collegiate or plural executive is one in which the authority is exercised by two or more individuals having co-equal authority. It is a system of government which adopts the merits and discards the defects of both the parliamentary and presidential systems of government.
The collegiate executive of Switzerland is called the Federal Council. It consists of seven members called councillors. These councillors are elected for a fixed term of four years by the two Houses of the Legislature (Federal Assembly) at a joint sitting. Swiss Government has seven departments and each department is under the control of a councillor. After being elected as the councillor they have to resign their membership in the Federal Assembly. They can be re-elected as many times as possible. The office of the President and the Vice-President of the Federal Council are shared among the councillors on a rotation basis for a one year term. No president can hold office for more than one year.
1. The collegiate executive of Switzerland is characterized by stability and responsibility.
2. There is no possibility of concentration of powers in a single individual.
3. This type of executive avoids tyranny and dictatorship.
4. The collegiate executive of Switzerland is representative of all opinions and all areas of the country.
5. This type of executive paves the way for continuity and permits traditions to be formed.
1. Since the collegiate executive consists of seven members belonging to different political parties, there is unnecessary delay in taking decisions.
2. The members of the federal council belong to various parties. Hence it is difficult to ensure secrecy which is essential for proper functioning of the executive.
3. In this system of government speedy action is possible during emergencies.
4. The executive is organized on plural principle. Hence it is not compatible with unity and independence.