Category Archives: Personal Opinion

P.O. (FT) Why Goldman Sachs should buy Deutsche Bank

P.O.

Personally i would love it to happen.
We would get rid of two evils:
The Vampires of Wall Street and the eternally broke Deutsche Bank.
DB problems, particularly the litigation problems,would eat the Vampires of Wall Street’s (Goldman Sachs) capital in no time.
As the French would say:
Bon debarras!
(Good riddance!)

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira



(FT) Why Goldman Sachs should buy Deutsche Bank

US group wants growth in transaction banking and a German deal could help achieve that

O.P./P.O. Port/Engl (ZeroHedge) Is Turkey The Snowflake That Unleashes The European Banking System Avalance?

O.P.

Não tenho dúvida que mais tarde ou mais cedo a Turquia precisará de ajuda internacional para poder honrar os seus compromissos com o exterior.
A situação da banca turca é particularmente dramática com empréstimos concedidos em liras turcas e recursos obtidos em Euros ou USD.

Esta situação é insustentável como bem sabemos.

É uma questão de tempo…


English version written by the Author

P.O.

I have no doubt that sooner or later Turkey will need international help to be able to honor its international commitements.

The situation of the Turkish banks is particularly worrying with the funding obtained in Euros or USD and the loans granted in liras.

This situation is unsustainable as we all know.

It is only a question of time.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira



(ZH)

Turkey’s Inevitable Recession, Surging Gold Demand,
Record Gold Highs and EU Bank Contagion

Turkey’s debt problem, coupled with the plummeting lira, is arguably the most important risk factor for the nation’s economy.

To make matters worse, far from it posing a threat just to Turkey itself, it also has the potential to inflict significant damage elsewhere too, starting with key economies in the Eurozone.

At first glance, the situation in Turkey might resemble many past similar scenarios of a heavily indebted nation with a plummeting currency that descends into a severe recession and eventually gets bailed out, like Greece.

However, there is one key difference that makes Turkey’s debt problem much more complicated and potentially dangerous. Unlike Greece, Italy or other seriously debt-laden economies, it’s not just government borrowing that’s the main risk here.

Instead, it’s the unsustainable and increasingly unfinanceable corporate debt that makes Turkey a ticking time bomb and renders an IMF-rescue option problematic.

Private debt to GDP stands at a staggering 170%, while, overall, over half of the borrowing is denominated in foreign currencies. Thus, the collapse of the lira has made it extremely challenging for businesses to pay off or even service their debt, while the default risk has surged. Around $179 billion in external debt is due to mature until July 2019, which amounts to almost a quarter of the country’s annual economic output, according to JPMorgan estimates. Most of that, $146 billion, is owed by the private sector and banks in particular.

However dire the current debt predicament might seem for Turkey’s businesses and economic outlook, it is important to also consider the implications for its debtholders, especially since European banks feature prominently among them. In fact, the level of exposure in some cases is so worrying that it justifiably raises concerns that what happens in Turkey won’t just stay in Turkey.

Spain’s banking sector is one of very few in the European bloc that was so far considered not to be problematic; especially in comparison to Italian or Greek banks.

However, the exposure of Spanish banks to Turkish debt means that the currency and debt woes of Europe’s neighbor have decisively challenged these assumptions. Spain’s second-biggest bank, BBVA, controls 49.9% of Turkish bank Garanti, which has already reported a rise in non-performing loans. Spanish banks also led the lending spree to Turkish businesses over the past years, rendering them vulnerable to the spiking default risk.

Although Spanish banks were by far the greatest lenders for Turkey, French, Italian and German banks also have significant exposure to Turkish debt. This already became problematic from the onset of the Turkish woes this past summer, when investors dumped Eurozone bank shares and prices suffered significant blows. Among the worst hit were BBVA, Unicredit, and PNB Paribas. Yet still, a blow to the stock price is nothing compared to the damage that a sustained currency crisis and rising default risk can inflict to the already vulnerable European banking sector.

Key lessons

Overall, Turkey’s woes are yet another important and timely reminder of the frailty of the current monetary system and of the banking sector, as well as of the systemic weaknesses and inevitable unsustainability of a centrally planned economy and of fiat money.

After all, the lira’s value, as that of any other fiat currency, depends on the trust the people place in its issuer. Once that is lost or even shaken, no measures and no force applied by the central planners can stabilize it. We saw that play out over the last months in Turkey, with the government trying a wide variety of approaches to control the currency’s fall, to no avail. That clearly demonstrated the flimsy and fickle nature of the entire system.

As the Turkish currency collapsed, demand for gold more than doubled in the country, while gold priced in lira reached all-time highs, as is to be expected in times of crisis.

Erdogan’s public calls for citizens to sell the “gold under their pillows” and buy lira to help defend the country against the “economic attacks” from the outside were clearly ignored. Consumers flocked to the precious metal in response to the deteriorating fiat currency and gold imports to Turkey increased eightfold last December, while the Turkish central bank itself also dramatically increased its official reserves over the last two years.

As the country now joins the long list of nations that came to regret reckless interventionism and aggressive monetary manipulation, it also sends a strong message to those investors who are wise enough to heed it. In order to effectively prepare for the upcoming economic slowdown and all that it will bring, one needs to hedge against these inherent risks that are deeply embedded in our current system.

While inflation, currency depreciations, volatile stock markets or a rise in toxic debt might be all we’ll see during the next downturn, nobody can be sure what the extent of the damage will be and whether it would be contained before threatening the banking system at large. Especially in Europe, the outlook is rather grim and the odds of a timely rescue are not favorable. As the central bank is already overstretched, after so many years of QE and negative interest rates, it is likely to lack the tools to fight the next recession and to limit its impact.

Turkey’s story can arguably be seen as a warning and as a cautionary tale. While governments and central banks will dismiss it, individual investors should not. Separating the signal from the noise has always been crucial in forming solid strategies and in planning for the future.

At this stage, when the signs of a widespread economic slowdown can already be seen on the horizon, the necessity of a physical precious metals position is imperative for any responsible investor who wishes to preserve their wealth.

P.O. (FT) UK store closures set to top 1,000 as use of CVAs mounts


Excerpt:  
«Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef whose restaurant chain, Jamie’s Italian, filed for a CVA last year at the time described a “perfect storm” of “rents, rates, the high street declining, food costs, Brexit [and an] increase in the minimum wage”».

P.O.

Having lived in London for almost 6 years, what strikes me is not the number of retail groups that are going under.

What strikes me is the lengh time it took them to go under.

Retail shoping in London is outrageously expensive and probably the worst price vs quality relation in the World.

Retail shops pay extremely high rents, are overstaffed, and usualy sell, or try to sell,some of the more uninteresting goods in the World.

Years ago in a New Bond Street shop, of an Italian shoe maker, i asked why the exact same shoes (that were perfect for me) that i had bought one week earlier in Paris, costed 3 times more.

And the answer was:

” Here in London we dont mark items according to what they costed us.
We mark them according to the price we think we can sell for”

This really explains it all…

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira



(FT) UK store closures set to top 1,000 as use of CVAs mounts
Debenhams, Paperchase and Monsoon pursue insolvency

O.P. O caso da Boeing

O.P.

O caso da Boeing

O Relatório perliminar do acidente com o Boeing das linhas aéreas Etíopes arrasa a Boeing.
Sem apelo nem agravo.
Os pilotos fizeram tudo conforme os manuais, e inclusivé fizeram os procedimentos introdhzidos pela Boeing depois do acidente com o mesmo avião de uma companhia aérea da Indonésia.
E mesmo assim perderam irremedialvelmente o controlo do avião. 
Como fenho uma licença de Piloto Particular de Aviões ( monomotores, sujeito a provas reduzidas) sei bem o que é se perder o contrôle de um acião, num monomotor, quanto mais num avião a jacto enorme
Sempre me pareceu que estavamos perante um defeito de fabrico que punha em causa a credibilidade da Boeing depois do caso dos incêndios nos chamados “aviões de plastico”.
Há dezenas de biliões de dolares de encomendas canceladas.
E não há mais porque a Airbus não tem capacidade de resposta perante um eventual  aumento brutal da procura.
Se não tivesse produção de aviões militares eu diria que a sobrevivência da Boeing poderia estar em causa.
Mas como tem entendo que não.
Mas nunca se sabe.
Diz o Povo na sua infindável sabedoria que uma desgraça nunca vem só.
Ou seja, mais um caso como este e  na minha opinião a Boeing não sobrevive como constructor de aviões para a Aviação Civil.

Francisco (Abouaf)de Curiel Marques Pereira

P.O. (GUA) Trump says US will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over Golan Heights

P.O.
I can only say:
Well done President Trump!
The Golan Heights are vital to Israel security.
Before 52 years ago, when Israel conquered the area with enormous acts of heroism, under orders from the famous General Moshe Dayan, Israel used to be bombed almost everyday from these Heights.
It could not continue.

And i am of the opinion the Golan Heights should for ever be a part of Israel.
Full Stop.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira



(GUA) Donald Trump has announced that the US will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, in a dramatic move likely to bolster Benjamin Netanyahu’s hopes to win re-election, but which will also provoke international opposition.

Previous US administrations have treated Golan Heights as occupied Syrian territory, in line with UN security council resolutions. Trump declared his break with that policy, in a tweet on Thursday.

He said: “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!”

By defying a 52-year-old unanimously adopted UN resolution on “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war”, Trump has also broken the postwar norm of refusing to recognise the forcible annexation of territory – which has underpinned western and international opposition to the Russian annexation of Crimea.

“The United States relies on these core principles regarding peaceful dispute resolution and rejecting acquisition of territory by force,” Tamara Cofman Wittes, the former deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, wrote on Twitter. Wittes, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, added the move “yanks the rug out from under US policy opposing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, as well as US views on other disputed territories”.

Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, quickly tweeted his gratitude for Trump’s gesture.

“At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights,” the Israeli prime minister wrote. “Thank you President Trump!”

The Syrian state news agency issued a statement saying Golan Heights remained Arabian and Syrian regardless of Trump’s comments.

The announcement came as Netanyahu was hosting the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, in Jerusalem.

“President Trump has just made history,” Netanyahu said. “I called him. I thanked him on behalf of the people of Israel. The message that President Trump has given the world is that America stands by Israel.”

Pompeo said: “President Trump tonight made the decision to recognise that hard-fought real estate, that important place is proper to be sovereign part of the state of Israel.”

He added: “The people of Israel should know that the battles they fought, the lives that they lost on that very ground, were worthy, meaningful and important for all time.”

The announcement marks a diplomatic coup for Netanyahu, less than three weeks before a close fought election, and four days before he is due to visit Washington.

Trump denied his announcement was intended to help Netanyahu hold on to office, even suggesting he had been unaware the election was imminent.

“I wouldn’t even know about that. I have no idea,” Trump told Fox News. He said he had been thinking about recognising the Israeli annexation “for a long time”.

“This is sovereignty, this is security, this is about regional security,” he said.

Administration officials had previously rebuffed Netanyahu’s pressure for recognition of Israel’s possession of the strategic border area, pointing out that Trump had already handed the Israeli leader a significant political gift by moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Recognition of the Golan could pave the way for US recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Palestinian occupied territories. In a recent state department report on human rights, the administration changed its description of the West Bank and Gaza from “occupied territories” to “Israeli-controlled territories”.

Robert Malley, a former Middle East adviser to Barack Obama and now head of the International Crisis Group, said: “This decision is intensely political – timed to boost Netanyahu’s electoral chances; gratuitous – it will not alter in any way Israel’s control of the Golan Heights; in disregard of international law; and an ominous step at a time when voices in Israel calling for the annexation of the West Bank are growing louder.”

He added: “It is of a piece with the administration’s one-sided Mideast policy and confirms that its goal is not Arab-Israeli peace but a fundamental redrawing of the parameters that have governed its pursuit.”

Israel advanced into the Golan Heights gradually in the years following the 1948 war Arab-Israeli war, and occupied it entirely in the 1967 war. That year, UN security council resolution 242 stressed the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every state in the area can live in security”.

A further resolution, supported by the Reagan administration in 1981, rejected as “null and void” a move to put the area under direct Israeli jurisdiction.

Over the decades there have been a string of abortive attempts to negotiate a peaceful solution to the fate of the Golan Heights – most recently in 2010 when the Obama administration and Netanyahu engaged in secret talks with the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, on a peace treaty involving Israeli withdrawal.

But that effort foundered with the spread of the Arab Spring revolt to Syria, and Assad’s decision to crush the rebellion by massacring protesters in 2011.

Frederic Hof, a former senior state department official involved in those negotiations, told the Guardian on Thursday that annexation “would be an entirely gratuitous gesture with potential diplomatic downsides for Israel and for the security of Israelis”.

Hof said: “It will be welcomed by Israel’s bitterest enemies – Iran and Hezbollah – who would see annexation as additional justification for terror operations. It would enable Syria’s Assad regime to change the subject from its war crimes and crimes against humanity to Israel’s formal acquisition of territory in violation of UN security council resolution 242. It would do nothing whatsoever positive for Israel’s security.”

P.O. (FT) Brussels rejects plea for dual-listed London shares trading

P.O.

Personally, and with no personal gain in it,i would love to see corporate issuers relocate to London, as the article suggets.

In my opinion, the EU has morphed into a non elected organization that has all the ticks of an imperialist dictatorship.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira




(FT) EU asset managers warn they could move to UK because of commission’s stance

P.O. (Reuters) United Natural Foods sues Goldman Sachs, Bank of America over acquisition advice

P.O.

The “Vampires of Wall Street”…
You are not telling me that they did something less proper…
Oh…
What about that small misuse of the Malaysia Sovereign Wealth Fund…?
…Between 5 and 10 billion USD…
Oh…
Please be so kind and revisit
my P.O. V.V.I. (FT) 1MDB scandal: the Malaysian fraud explained:

V.V.I.

The “Vampires of Wall Street” (nickname for Goldman Sachs) at it again…
One of the greatest finantial frauds in history…
USD 4.5 billion allegedly misappropriated from the Malasian State Investment fund.
The incredible number of transfers, and their complexity were designed to make it very difficult to trace the origin of the funds. (US Departement of Justice).
I sincerely hope (but i doubt it will happen) that with this scandal the “vampires” will be stopped for good.
Video not to be missed.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira



(Reuters) Grocery distributing company United Natural Foods Inc filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Bank of America Merrill Lynch claiming the investment banks put their financial interests ahead of the company’s when they advised it on a multi-billion acquisition last year.

United Natural Foods announced plans to acquire distributor Supervalu in July 2018 in a deal valued at $2.9 billion, according to a joint statement on United’s website.

United claims in the lawsuit, which was filed in New York state court, that Goldman Sachs committed breach of contract and fraud, and that the firm improperly extracted around $200 million for the advisory and financing services it gave United.

Goldman Sachs spokeswoman Nicole Sharp wrote in an emailed statement that the bank believes the claims have no merit, and the bank plans to “vigorously defend ourselves against these accusations.”

Bank of America spokesman Bill Halldin declined to comment.

O.P. (FT) Brussels prepares for post-Brexit fish clash with UK

O.P.

Convenção de Viena sobre o Direito dos Tratados

http://www.ministeriopublico.pt/instrumento/convencao-de-viena-sobre-o-direito-dos-tratados-0

…Afinal o óbvio vem ao de cima…
…E faziam todos de conta que não tinham lido…
…Diziam que uma eventual saida do Reino Unido da União Europeia teria que regular se pelas normas lá escritas…
Treta e asneira digo eu…
O Reino Unido , como qualquer outro Estado sai quando
e como quiser, independentemente de qualquer decisão de Bruxelas, ou dos outros membros da União Europeia.

Consulta de tratados internacionais
Nova Pesquisa
Convenção de Viena sobre o Direito dos Tratados
Instrumento Multilateral
Organização internacional quadro da celebração:
Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU/UN)
Temas: Direito dos Tratados
Local de conclusão:
Viena
Data de Conclusão:
23/05/1969
Inicío de vigência na ordem internacional:
27/01/1980
Data de depósito de instrumento de ratificação:
06/02/2004
Início de vigência relativamente a Portugal:
07/03/2004
Diplomas de aprovação:
Aprovada para ratificação pela Resolução da Assembleia da República n.º 67/2003; ratificada pelo Decreto do Presidente da República n.º 46/2003

Publicação:
Diário da República I-A; n.º 181, de 07/08/2003

Declarações e reservas:
Portugal formula a seguinte declaração no momento da adesão à Convenção: «O artigo 66.º da Convenção de Viena encontra-se indissociavelmente ligado às disposições da parte V, à qual se refere. Nestes termos, Portugal declara que, na sua relação com qualquer outro Estado que formulou ou formule uma reserva cujo efeito seja o de não se vincular no todo ou em parte pelas disposições do artigo 66.º, não se considerará vinculado em relação a esse Estado nem pelas normas processuais nem pelas normas substantivas da parte V da Convenção, relativamente às quais deixam de se aplicar os procedimentos previstos no artigo 66.º em virtude da referida reserva. Contudo, Portugal não objecta à entrada em vigor do remanescente da Convenção entre a República Portuguesa e o Estado em questão e considera que a ausência de relações convencionais entre si e esse Estado, em relação à totalidade ou parte das normas da parte V da Convenção de Viena, não prejudica de modo algum o dever deste de observar as obrigações decorrentes de tais disposições às quais esteja vinculado ao abrigo do direito internacional, independentemente da Convenção.»

Avisos:

  • Aviso n.º 27/2004, de 03/04/2004 – torna público o depósito do instrumento de adesão à Convenção;
  • Aviso n.º 256/2011, de 27/12/2011 – torna público que a República Portuguesa realizou uma notificação relativa à Convenção.

Ou seja e como é óvio:

Traduzindo para Pretuguês

Nenhum Estado tem de ficar amarrado a uma qualquer convenção ou tratado, ou ás suas normas para sair dele…
Basta dizer que denuncia o tratado ou convenção, independentemente do que nele estiver escrito quanto a normas de saida…

Se assim não fosse a unica solução para resolver um tratado ou convenção na eventualidade de não acordo seria a guerra.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

P.S.: Ou seja: Mesmo que a UE se queira armar em “durona”, a pressão da realidade vai ser tal que vão ter que chegar a um entendimento com o Reino Unido.
Até porque a UE exporta mais para o Reino Unido do que importa dele.





(FT) Brussels prepares for post-Brexit fish clash with UK

Ou seja:

Mesmo que a UE se queira armar em “durona”, a pressão da realidade vai ser tal que vão ter que chegar a um entendimento com o Reino Unido.
Até porque a UE exporta mais para o Reino Unido do que importa dele.





(FT) Brussels prepares for post-Brexit fish clash with UK

Commission acknowledges that members may need to seek country-by-country deals

P.O. (FT) Jeremy Corbyn is failing the Brexit test

P.O.

Not at all fit to be a Leader of the Opposition, and…
Not at all fit to be a Prime Minister

Quod erat demonstrandum

FCMP

EXCERPT:

It is Britain’s misfortune that at its time of need it has been blessed with two of the most inflexible, small-minded, partisan and inept figures ever to assume the mantle of leadership in the nation’s two major parties. The UK has had bad party leaders before, but until now it has been clever enough not to have them at the same time.



(FT) The Labour leader’s refusal to step into the vacuum left by May’s defeat is misguided

P.O. (FT) Customs union: could it give May a way out of her Brexit dilemma?

P.O
A customs union would pose as many problems as it would solve.
It would be an assymetrical relation, much in the way Turkey has had with the EU since the end of the nineties.
It would force Britain to open it’s market to any Country that woud sign a deal with the EU , but would not get a preferential access to that Country’s market.
Plus it would tie up the UK wth EU , in several areas and ways  precisely were it does not want to. 
Plus it would not be welcome by the Northen Ireland MPs, that support the Governmt.
And it would instantly make the government fall because of the defection to Labour of a number of Tory MPs that are Hard Brexiters.
The UK seems now to be a Country that is not posibke to be Governed.
Between Mr Corbyn, of which  some people say is a hard line comunist,between Mrs May that seems to be an inefectual leader and an European Union that has imperialistic and dictatorial ticks, i do not see a way out of this impass.
Except if the EU changes completely it’s aproach to the UK
.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel 
Marques Pereira

(FT) Customs union: could it give May a way out of her Brexit dilemma? | Financial Times

Anchor Opinion (FT) Liberalism’s most brilliant enemy is back in vogue – Gideon Rachman

Anchor Opinion

Disgusting but not to be ignored in order to be prepared to fight it.

This revival of interest in the ideas of Carl Schmitt, “the crown jurist of the Third Reich”is certainly not a good omen in the strange World with no values we live in. 

As the Medieval Catholic formula for exorcism says,(recorded in a 1415 manuscript found in the Benedictine Metten Abbey in Bavaria), VADE RETRO SATANA!

(Go back, Satan or Step back, Satan)!

Nazis ?

Over my dead body!

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira





(FT) Liberalism’s most brilliant enemy is back in vogue

Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt appeals to opponents of democracy and the rule of law
Gideon Rachman

https://www.ft.com/content/bc9c69fe-14da-11e9-a581-4ff78404524e

P.O. (FT) Juncker makes late bid to avert no-deal Brexit

In the FT:
 


Juncker makes late bid to avert no-deal Brexit

European president works with May to prevent ‘catastrophic’ vote result


P.O.

I would argue that the European Union, which has all the ticks of an imperialist dictatorship, should have thought of this, before imposing to the UK a deal, and such an horrible one, that even a child can figure out how bad and unjust it is.

The truth of the matter is that the EU is trying to show how painfull and costly it is to leave the EU…

Just to discourage all the other EU Member States that are flirting with the idea of leaving the Union.

Just look at the pressure the UE has been aplying to Switzerland (which is not a EU Member State, but has a lot of agreements with the EU) over the past few years…

Fortunately Switzerland is a Direct Democracy in which its citizens vote on everything in Sunday referendums.

And when the Swiss citizens vote it’s final!

And you know what…?

Against a Direct Democracy the non elected Eurocrats headed by Mr Junker, known to enjoy alcool a bit too much, can do nothing.

No one can defeat Democracy in the long run.

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/267224-democracy-is-the-worst-form-of-government-except-for-all


Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

― Winston S. Churchill

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

In Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Switzerland


Politics of Switzerland

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to search

Switzerland is a semi-direct democratic federal republic. The federal legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Federal Assembly, the National Council and the Council of States. The Federal Council holds the executive power and is composed of seven power-sharing Federal Councillors elected by the Federal Assembly. The judicial branch is headed by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, whose judges are elected by the Federal Assembly.

Switzerland has a tradition of direct democracy. For any change in the constitution, a referendum is mandatory (mandatory referendum); for any change in a law, a referendum can be requested (optional referendum). In addition, the people may present a constitutional popular initiative to introduce amendments to the federal constitution. The people also assume a role similar to the constitutional court, which does not exist, and thus act as the guardian of the rule of law.

Cantonal and municipal politics vary in the different cantons, which may have different systems. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Switzerland as “full democracy” in 2016.[1]

Contents

Direct representation[edit]

See also: Voting in Switzerland

Switzerland features a system of government not seen in any other nation: direct representation, sometimes called half-direct democracy (this may be arguable, because theoretically, the Sovereign of Switzerland is actually its entire electorate).[2] Referenda on the most important laws have been used since the 1848 constitution.

Amendments to the Federal Constitution of Switzerland, the joining of international organizations, or changes to federal laws that have no foundation in the constitution but will remain in force for more than one year must be approved by the majority of both the people and the cantons, a double majority.

Any citizen may challenge a law that has been passed by parliament. If that person is able to gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days, a national vote has to be scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority of the voters whether to accept or reject the law.[3]

Also, any citizen may seek a decision on an amendment they want to make to the constitution. For such a federal popular initiative to be organised, the signatures of 100,000 voters must be collected within 18 months.[4] Such a federal popular initiative is formulated as a precise new text (general proposal initiatives have been canceled in 2009[5]) whose wording can no longer be changed by parliament and the government. After a successful signature gathering, the federal council may create a counterproposal to the proposed amendment and put it to vote on the same day as the original proposal. Such counter-proposals are usually a compromise between the status quo and the wording of the initiative. Voters will decide in a national vote whether to accept the initiative amendment, the counter proposal put forward by the government if any, or both. If both are accepted, one has to additionally signal a preference. Initiatives (that are of constitutional level) have to be accepted by a double majority of both the popular votes and a majority of the cantons, while counter-proposals may be of legislative level and hence require only simple majority.

Federal level[edit]

Federalism refers to a vertical separation of powers. The aim is to avoid the concentration of power in a forum, which allows a moderation of state power and the easing of the duties of the federal state.

In Switzerland, it is above all a matter of designating the independence of the cantons vis-à-vis the Confederation.

Executive branch[edit]

Main articles: Swiss Federal Council and Federal administration of SwitzerlandSee also: List of members of the Swiss Federal Council and List of Presidents of the Swiss Confederation

The Swiss Federal Council is a seven-member executive council that heads the federal administration, operating as a combination cabinet and collective presidency. Any Swiss citizen eligible to be a member of the National Council can be elected;[6] candidates do not have to register for the election, or to actually be members of the National Council. The Federal Council is elected by the Federal Assembly for a four-year term. Present members are: Doris Leuthard (CVP/PDC), Guy Parmelin (SVP/UDC), Ueli Maurer (SVP/UDC), Ignazio Cassis (FDP/PRD), Simonetta Sommaruga (SP/PS), Johann Schneider-Ammann (FDP/PRD) and Alain Berset (SP/PS).

The largely ceremonial President and Vice President of the Confederation are elected by the Federal Assembly from among the members of the Federal Council for one-year terms that run concurrently. The President has almost no powers over and above his or her six colleagues, but undertakes representative functions normally performed by a president or prime minister in single-executive systems. The current (As of 2018[update]) President and Vice President are Alain Berset and Ueli Maurer, respectively.

The Swiss executive is one of the most stable governments worldwide. Since 1848, it has never been renewed entirely at the same time, providing a long-term continuity. From 1959 to 2003 the Federal Council was composed of a coalition of all major parties in the same ratio: 2 each from the Free Democratic PartySocial Democratic Party and Christian Democratic People’s Party and 1 from the Swiss People’s Party. Changes in the council occur typically only if one of the members resigns (merely four incumbent members were voted out of the office in over 150 years);[7] this member is almost always replaced by someone from the same party (and often also from the same linguistic group).

The Federal Chancellor is the head of the Federal Chancellery, which acts as the general staff of the Federal Council. The Chancellery is divided into three distinct sectors. The Chancellor is the formal head of the Federal Chancellor Sector, comprising the planning & strategy section, the Internal Services section, the political rights section, the federal crisis management training unit of the Federal Administration, and the Records and Process Management section.

Two sectors are headed by the Vice-Chancellors: the Federal Council sector manages the agenda of the Federal Council’s meeting. This sector comprises the Section for Federal Council Affairs, the Legal Section, the Official Publications Centre and the Central Language Services. The Information & Communications Sector is led by Vice-Chancellor André Simonazzi, this role also has expanded to become the official spokesman for the Federal Council in 2000. This sector includes the e-Government Section, the Communication Support Section and the Political Forum of the Confederation.

The Swiss government has been a coalition of the four major political parties since 1959, each party having a number of seats that roughly reflects its share of electorate and representation in the federal parliament. The classic distribution of 2 CVP/PDC, 2 SPS/PSS, 2 FDP/PRD and 1 SVP/UDC as it stood from 1959 to 2003 was known as the “magic formula“.[7]

This “magic formula” has been repeatedly criticised: in the 1960s, for excluding leftist opposition parties; in the 1980s, for excluding the emerging Green party; and particularly after the 1999 election, by the People’s Party, which had by then grown from being the fourth largest party on the National Council to being the largest. In the elections of 2003, the People’s Party received (effective January 1, 2004) a second seat in the Federal Council, reducing the share of the Christian Democratic Party to one seat.

Legislative branch[edit]

The Federal Palace, in Bern, hosts the Federal Assembly and the Federal Council.

Switzerland has a bicameral parliament called the Federal Assembly, which is composed by:

  • the Council of States (46 seats, 2 seats per canton, except for six cantons which only have 1), also known as the upper chamber
  • the National Council (200 seats, split between the cantons based on population), also known as the lower chamber

The Federal Assembly convenes to elect the members of the Federal Council. The two chambers are equal (perfect bicameralism). This power-sharing system serves to avoid monopolization of federal politics by more populated cantons to the detriment of smaller and rural cantons.

Members of both houses serve for 4 years and only serve as members of parliament part-time (so-called “Milizsystem” or Citizen legislature).[8]

Political parties and elections[edit]

This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (April 2016)

For other political parties, see List of political parties in Switzerland. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in Switzerland.

Switzerland has a rich party landscape. The five parties represented in the Federal Council are generally called the government parties: Free Democratic PartySocial Democratic PartyChristian Democratic PartySwiss People’s Party, and Conservative Democratic Party of Switzerland.

As of 2011 only the five government parties were represented in the Council of States. In the National Council the party landscape is more diverse with six non-government parties having at least one seat.Main article: Swiss federal election, 2011

PartiesAbbr.AlignmentIdeologyVotes[9]%+/– (%)Seats%+/– (seats)
Swiss People’s PartySVP/UDCRight wingNational conservatism648,67526.6−2.35427−8
Social Democratic PartySPS/PSSCentre-left/Left-wingSocial democracy457,31718.7+0.84623.0+3
FDP.The LiberalsFDP/PLRCentre-rightClassical liberalism368,95115.1−0.73015.0−1
Christian Democratic People’s PartyCVP/PDCCentre/Centre-rightChristian democracy300,54412.3−2.22814.0−3
Green PartyGPS/PESLeft wingGreen politics205,9848.4−1.2157.5−5
Green Liberal PartyGLP/PVLCentreGreen liberalism131,4365.4+4.0126.0+9
Conservative Democratic PartyBDP/PBDCentre-rightConservatism / Economic liberalism132,2795.4+5.494.5+9
Evangelical People’s PartyEVP/PEVCentreChristian democracy48,7892.0−0.421.0±0
Ticino LeagueLdTRight wingRegionalism / Right-wing populism19,6570.8+0.221.0+1
Geneva Citizens’ MovementMCGRight wingRegionalism / Right-wing populism10,7140.4+0.310.5+1
Federal Democratic UnionEDU/UDFRight wingChristian right31,0561.3±000−1
Party of LabourPdALeft wingSocialism21,4820.5−0.200−1
Christian Social PartyCSP/PCSCentre-leftChristian left6,2480.3-0.100-1
Other54,6222.210.5+1
Total (turnout 48.5%)2,442,648200
Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office (in French) Statistics Switzerland (in German)
PartiesIdeology2007Seats±
Christian Democratic People’s Party (CVP/PDC)Christian democracy1513-2
FDP.The Liberals (FDP/PRD)Classical liberalism1211-1
Social Democratic Party (SPS/PSS)Social democracy911+2
Swiss People’s Party (SVP/UDC)National conservatism75-2
Green Party (GPS/PES)Green politics22±0
Green Liberal Party (GLP/VL)Green liberalism12+1
Conservative Democratic Party (BDP/PBD)Conservatism / Economic liberalismNew1+1
IndependentIndependent01+1
Total4646
Source: http://www.politik-stat.ch/srw2011CH_de.html

Judicial branch[edit]

Switzerland has a Federal Supreme Court, with judges elected for six-year terms by the Federal Assembly. The function of the Federal Supreme Court is to hear appeals of cantonal courts or the administrative rulings of the federal administration. Switzerland does not have a Constitutional Court, and the Supreme Court cannot comment on law put forward by the parliament. This role is assumed by the people, which acts as a guardian and can repeal any legislation or constitutional change.

Cantonal level[edit]

Executive branch[edit]

Main article: List of cantonal executives of Switzerland

Legislative branch[edit]

Main article: List of cantonal legislatures of Switzerland

Political conditions[edit]

Political positions of the Swiss political parties based on their referendum voting recommendations, 1985-90 and 2010-14

Switzerland has a stable government. Most voters support the government in its philosophy of armed neutrality underlying its foreign and defense policies. Domestic policy poses some major problems, to the point that many observers deem that the system is in crisis[10] but the changing international environment has generated a significant reexamination of Swiss policy in key areas such as defense, neutrality, and immigration. Quadrennial national elections typically produce only marginal changes in party representation.

In recent years, Switzerland has seen a gradual shift in the party landscape. The right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), traditionally the junior partner in the four-party coalition government, more than doubled its voting share from 11.0% in 1987 to 22.5% in 1999, rising to 28.9% in 2007, thus overtaking its three coalition partners. This shift in voting shares put a strain on the “magic formula“, the power-broking agreement of the four coalition parties. From 1959 until 2004, the seven-seat cabinet had comprised 2 Free Democrats, 2 Christian Democrats, 2 Social Democrats, and 1 Swiss People’s Party, but in 2004, the Swiss People’s Party took one seat from the Christian Democrats. In 2008 the Conservative Democratic Party split from the SVP, taking both of their Federal Council seats with them. However, the SVP eventually retook both seats, in 2009 and 2015 respectively.[11]

The Swiss Federal Constitution limits federal influence in the formulation of domestic policy and emphasizes the roles of private enterprise and cantonal government. However, in more recent times the powers of the Confederation have increased with regard to educationagriculturehealthenergy, the environmentorganized crime, and narcotics.[citation needed]

The Index of perception of corruption puts Switzerland among the least corrupt nations. In the 2005 survey, Switzerland ranks 7th (out of 158 surveyed), with 9.1 out of 10 possible points, representing an improvement of 0.4 points over the past four years.

Together with seven other European nations, Switzerland leads the 2005 index on Freedom of the Press published by Reporters Without Borders (with a score 0.5 points, zero being the perfect score).

Foreign relations[edit]

Main article: Foreign relations of Switzerland

Switzerland has avoided alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action. In June 2001, Swiss voters approved new legislation providing for the deployment of armed Swiss troops for international peacekeeping missions under United Nations or Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe auspices as well as international cooperation in military training. The Swiss have broadened the scope of activities in which they feel able to participate without compromising their neutrality.

Switzerland maintains diplomatic relations with almost all countries and historically has served as a neutral intermediary and host to major international treaty conferences. The country has no major disputes in its bilateral relations.

Energy politics[edit]

The emergency switch-off button of the Beznau Nuclear Power Plant. In 2011, the federal authorities decided to gradually phase out nuclear power in Switzerland.See also: Energy in Switzerland and Nuclear power in Switzerland

The energy generated in Switzerland comprises 55.2% hydroelectricity, 39.9% from nuclear power, about 4% from conventional sources and about 1% other.

On May 18, 2003, two referenda regarding the future of nuclear power in Switzerland were held. The referendum Electricity Without Nuclear asked for a decision on a nuclear power phase-out and Moratorium Plus asked about an extension of an existing law forbidding the building of new nuclear power plants. Both were turned down: Moratorium Plus by a margin of 41.6% for and 58.4% opposed, and Electricity Without Nuclear by a margin of 33.7% for and 66.3% opposed. The former ten-year moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants was the result of a federal popular initiative voted on in 1990 which had passed with 54.5% Yes vs. 45.5% No votes (see Nuclear power in Switzerland for details).

In May 2011, due to the Fukushima accident in Japan, the Swiss government decided to abandon plans to build new nuclear reactors. The country’s five existing reactors will be allowed to continue operating, but will not be replaced at the end of their life span. The last will go offline in 2034.[12]



(FT) Juncker makes late bid to avert no-deal Brexit

European president works with May to prevent ‘catastrophic’ vote result

P.O. (FT) One thing about Brexit is certain — no one knows anything

P.O.

Monsieur de la Palice woudn’t have said it better…

Lapalissade

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

A lapalissade is an obvious truth—i.e. a truism or tautology—which produces a comical effect. It is derived from the name Jacques de la Palice, and the word is used in several languages.[1][2][3]

Origin

These words were misread (accidentally or intentionally) as “…il ſerait [serait] encore en vie” (“…he would still be alive”), where the long s aids in the confusion. In the 16th century this misreading was incorporated into a popular satirical song, and in time many other variants developed, including “… que deux jours avant sa mort / il était encore en vie” (“… that two days before his death / he was still quite alive”) and “… et quand il était tout nu, / il n’avait point de chemise” (“… and when he was stark naked / he didn’t wear a shirt”).

La Palice’s epitaph reads[2][1]“Ci-gît le Seigneur de La Palice: s’il n’était pas mort, il ferait encore envie.”(“Here lies the Seigneur de La Palice: If he weren’t dead, he would still be envied.”)

In the early 18th century Bernard de la Monnoye collected over 50 of these humorous “La Palice” quatrains, and published them as a burlesque Song of La Palice. From that song came the French term lapalissade meaning an utterly obvious truth—i.e. a truism or tautology, and it was borrowed into several other languages. Since that day, when you say something very obvious, your interlocutor answers : “La Palice would have said as much !” (in French : “La Palice en aurait dit autant !”). 
FCMP


(FT) Even the professionals’ predictions about what would happen have turned out wrong

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, “Rei por uma vida”

Nota prévia:
Esta opinião é completamente parcial (biased) na medida em que eu sou amigo pessoal da Família há dezenas de anos.

O.P.
Sobre a visita ontem do Senhor Presidente da Republica ao almoço de Natal, de solidariedade, na Mesquita de Lisboa.
” Filho de peixe sabe nadar”
Já o Pai dele era Extraordinario.
Foi o último Governador Geral de Moçambique.
Era de tal maneira querido que vinte e tal , ou trinta anos depois da independência voltou a Moçambique a convite do Governo de Maputo tendo sido acolhido com Honras equiparadas a Chefe de Estado e tendo sido recebido apoteioticamente por todo o Moçambique.
Mais uma vez se confirma o ditado popular:
“Filho de peixe sabe nadar.”
O Senhor Presidente da Republica reviu, actualizou, e melhorou a visão do Pai Baltazar com quem tinha uma relação muito próxima.
Não há qualquer dúvida que o Senhor Presidente da Republica é de longe o melhor Presidente que Portugal teve, desde que existem Presidentes…
Portando, e citando outro ditado popular:
“Equipe que ganha não se mexe”.
Ou seja:
Para quê arriscar a ter, após dois mandatos seguidos , um Presidente necessariamente pior que este..?
Façam o Senhor Presidente da Republica :
“Rei por uma vida”

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira.

P.O. V.V.I. (FT) 1MDB scandal: the Malaysian fraud explained

P.O.

V.V.I.

The “Vampires of Wall Street” (nickname for Goldman Sachs) at it again…
One of the greatest finantial frauds in history…
USD 4.5 billion allegedly misappropriated from the Malasian State Investment fund.
The incredible number of transfers, and their complexity were designed to make it very difficult to trace the origin of the funds. (US Departement of Justice).
I sincerely hope (but i doubt it will happen) that with this scandal the “vampires” will be stopped for good.
Video not to be missed.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira



The FT’s Stefania Palma explains the corruption and money-laundering inquiry at the state development and investment fund in which charges have been filed against two former Goldman Sachs bankers, local financier Jho Low and ex-1MDB employee Jasmine Loo Ai Swan