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3 Editorial Corina Casanova Federal Chancellor Corina Casanova has headed the Federal Chancellery and its staff of around 250 since 1 January 2008. She supports the President and the Federal Council in the fulfilment of their tasks. Together with the two Vice Chancellors, she attends the weekly meetings of the Federal Council where she acts in an advisory capacity and is able to submit proposals. Dear Reader Whenever you receive documentation on a federal vote, you are in contact with the Federal Chancellery. And in future, whenever you read or hear the words initiative, referendum or election, you will hopefully be reminded of the Federal Chancellery, for it is the insti- tution which ensures that elections and votes in Switzerland are free and fair and that the ballot is secret. It also seeks to provide the public with a better understanding of the complex issues at hand. The red pamphlet, for example, which contains the explanatory statements by the Federal Council, is produced by our communications special- ists in cooperation with the departments. How many items of business do you think there are on the Federal Council’s weekly agenda: 10? 15? 20? Not even close; on average there are 70 to 80 items of business! So you can imagine that it is essential that the Federal Council meetings are very well prepared. Before an item of business is dealt with by the Federal Council, it goes through a series of stages which are coordinated and overseen by the Federal Chancellery. It’s meticulous work. Political rights, communications, coordination - the Federal Chancel- lery’s multifaceted profile is gradually taking shape. Did you know that the Federal Chancellery is also the guardian of the country’s official languages? No? Then it’s time we gave you a taste of what working at the Federal Chancellery involves. Three typical working days are portrayed here in words and images. I hope you enjoy reading the brochure. Corina Casanova Federal Chancellor