Direct democracy and federalism are the two most distinctive features of the Swiss political system. Even though the forces of modernity are pulling towards an increased integration and coordination etween the state levels! and are finally leading to a centralisation of competences! the administrative structure is still very much decentralised and the principle of su sidiarity held high. "n the first half of the #$th %entury Swit&erland was characteri&ed y a high cultural! linguistic and religious diversity. The formation of the modern Swiss state was a rather tur ulent one! including the occupation y 'rench troops under (apoleon )#*$+, and a civil war etween the predominantly li eral! -rotestant cantons and the %atholic Sonder und cantons # campaigning for cantonal autonomy )#+.*,. Swit&erland is also a country that underwent a rather late ut rapid industriali&ation process which eventually culminated in the political crisis of the violent general stri/e of #$#+. Due to the tensions etween Swit&erland0s rigid and highly fragmented territorial structure 1 and the rapid evolution of governmental tas/s! reform of the Swiss political system has een high on the political agenda ever since the late #$23s. 4s it is widely /nown! Swit&erland5s political system includes important elements of direct citi&en participation for the creation! change and a olishment of inding legal norms. The mechanisms and functions of direct democracy are at the core of all political developments )Trechsel6Sciarini #$$+,. 7owever! most legislation is passed y -arliament without interference of the voters. Roughly $89 of all ills formally su :ected to the optional referendum are actually not challenged );riesi6Trechsel 133+< =*,. "n fact! most of the ills going through -arliament are even prepared y the e>ecutive! namely y the pu lic administration. ?ut all issues that are put to a allot vote are de ated in -arliament eforehand. 7ence! the literature often refers to the Swiss political system as eing a semi@direct democracy. 7istorically! direct democratic institutions developed ottom@up! from the cantonal level to the national level. ?etween #+.+ and #+*8 only mandatory referendums and citi&ens5 initiatives aiming at a complete revision of the 'ederal %onstitution were allowed. The optional legislative referendum was introduced in #+*.! and the citi&en5s initiative for a partial amendment of the %onstitution in #+$#. These institutions of direct democracy were advocated
Lucerne! Uri! Schwy&! Unterwalden! Aug! 'rei urg and Balais )since #+.=,. Swit&erland consists of 13 full cantons and 2 so called half@cantons )C walden and (idwalden! ?asel Stadt and ?asel Landschaft! 4ppen&ell 4usserrhoden and 4ppen&ell "nnerrhoden, so that the total count of cantonal votes amounts to 18. There are appro>imately 1!.33 municipalities! of which a it more than half have less than #!333 inha itants.
y the so called 5democratic movement5 which stood in opposition to the dominating political party of the Radicals at that time. During the 13th century! some modifications to direct democratic institutions were made.8 The referendum for international treaties! introduced in #$1# and e>tended in #$**! provided for citi&en participation in matters of foreign policy. 'urthermore! the right of the 'ederal 4ssem ly to withdraw its decisions from the referendum procedure through the use of the so@called 5urgency clause5 was limited in #$.$ y the introduction of a referendum for such cases. Si> years after the introduction of women0s suffrage in #$*#! the num er of reDuired signatures for an optional referendum was raised from 830333 to =30333! and for a citi&ens5 initiative from =30333 to #330333 )4uer et al. 1332E Linder 133*,. 4t the cantonal level! the direct democratic rights have developed considera ly since the #$th century! and nowadays include legislative initiatives! referendums on administrative acts! as well as referendums on one@time or recurring financial decisions )Linder 133*E Trechsel6SerdFlt #$$$,. The most important direct democratic institutions that are actually in operation on all state levels are the mandatory referendum to sanction constitutional change! the optional referendum to challenge already passed legislation! and the citi&en5s initiative to revise the %onstitution )or laws in the cantons, from outside of -arliament. Cn a worldwide scale Swit&erland still accounts for around =3 percent of all referendum votes. Cn average! the Swiss have had the opportunity to vote on slightly more than nine referendum topics per year from #$+.@133$! and that only accounts for the national level )4ltman 13##< *.@*=,. Ta/ing the cantonal level into consideration one would have to add another five referendum topics per year in each canton.. 7owever! something interesting has happened during the last few decades. 'or the first time in history! Swit&erland! if treated as a 5continent5 in terms of direct democracy gave up the lead to Latin 4merica and Europe! mainly ecause of the so called 5third wave5 of democratisation and new constitutions providing for direct democratic mechanisms in countries of the former Soviet ?loc/! respectively. "n addition! referendum votes initiated y the ottom@up process of collecting signatures tend to e spreading slowly ut steadily across the glo e )SerdFlt6Welp 13#1,.
Referendum votes in Swit&erland are in general inding. Cn the local level! especially in the case of communal mergers! a few consultative referendums have een organised as well )7angartner6;ley 1333< $3#,. Cn the cantonal level! minorities or Dualified ma:orities of -arliaments also have the right to call for a vote or to su mit a su :ect matter to a vote! respectively )Trechsel6SerdFlt #$$$,. Usually! ut not necessarily so! referendum votes ta/e place on pre@defined dates and are pooled across all three state levels. The current national referendum schedule defines all potential dates till 1381. (ational elections would not ta/e place on a referendum polling day! however! lower level elections might coincide.
. 4fter the foundation of the Swiss 'ederation in #+.+ )Jruner #$2$< #=E KIc/li #$$2< 1#. Jallen in #+8#! and it was shortly followed y ?asel Landschaft! Lucerne and several others! efore the foundation of modern Swit&erland with the %onstitution of #+... Cnly 4ppen&ell "nnerrhoden and Jlarus have /ept the 5Landsgemeinde5 till today. 4lthough the starting conditions and constitution@ma/ing processes in the Swiss cantons were very different they! nonetheless! all ended up with similar sets of referendum and initiative devices. -hysical violence during or after a 5Landsgemeinde5 as well as practices such as vote uying were sometimes even officially tolerated and certainly not deemed as unusual at the time )4dler 1332.+ all cantons e>cept the ones with a 5Landsgemeinde5 tradition introduced direct democratic instruments into their constitutions. "n a first step of its development! the veto was ased on simple ma:orities of all the citi&ens )and not only the voters.ley 1333< =1=.. citi&ens to elect teachers and the school oard )Jruner #$2$< #2. The development of direct democracy on the Swiss national level cannot e grasped without loo/ing into the constitutional histories of the cantons.Il&5s discontinuity thesis! stating that direct democracy could not have emerged as a natural conseDuence of pre@modern communal practices such as the 5Landsgemeinde5! and that the 'rench Revolution was a necessary pre@ condition. Several other cantons have a olished it in the course of history )Aug and Schwy& #+. the recall! and the Landsgemeinde. 4nd why primarily! and so prominently! in Swit&erland if the communal assem ly tradition and ideas of the 'rench Revolution were also very much present elsewhere in Europe )4uer 13##< B"! 7angartner6. The cantons provide for the foundations and the repertoire of political institutions of modern Swit&erland )4uer 13##< B". The first canton with a veto right was St. The canton of Aurich even went as far as to allow )male.The Origins of Swiss Direct Democracy
7ow we can e>plain the fact that all cantons G without the presence of a strong centrali&ing force G ended up with more or less the same set of direct democratic instruments is not so clear cut.. Jradually! veto rights transformed into what we now call the optional referendum which is used to stop a law already passed in -arliament y the collection of signatures. The historical predecessors of modern direct democratic instruments in Swit&erland are< the veto. ?lic/le! as the originator of the continuity thesis! departs from the fact that communal self@government was evolving during the late medieval age in large parts of Jermany! "taly and Swit&erland! and argues that direct democracy should e interpreted as a continuation of this tradition )4dler 1332< ##.. Since non@voters were counted as consenting to the status Duo! de facto! a participation Duorum was applied.H "n the literature we find two conflicting theories< ..+E (idwalden #$$2E 4ppen&ell
. What is called the Landsgemeinde is actually a people5s assem ly! in which the citi&ens vote y show of hands.
Jallen in its %onstitution of #+8# )Wic/li 13##... "n addition! the lac/ of vote secrecy and transparency of counting procedures ecame ever more difficult to :ustify. and that on the other hand important state matters can e solved y means of referendum votes. This is especially the case in the Jerman spea/ing part of the country where communal assem lies usually ta/e place in spring and fall. The lac/ of interest in the recall in Swit&erland can e e>plained y the fact that on the one hand Swiss recall only applies to an elected ody as a whole )not a person. Lately! and may e surprisingly so! Uri and Ticino ) oth in 13##. 7owever! there is the indirect option of launching an initiative for a total revision of the %onstitution which would! in case of success! trigger new elections )this was actually tried y the 'rontists and other right@wing! nationalistic movements in #$8=.4usserrhoden #$$*E C walden #$$+.2! 4rgovia followed in #+=1 )though it a olished it again in #$+3. 7owever! the attempt was clearly re:ected with *1. can show that on average +19 of them still ta/e ma:or decisions in the communal assem ly and not in a -arliament.2 Lust to point to one of the many fascinating historical tra:ectories of cantonal direct democracy! " would li/e to highlight the case of the emergence of the veto in the canton of St... There is no recall on the national level. 7owever! practice is virtually non e>istent.. and the distri ution of leaflets and pamphlets spreading ideas stemming from the 'rench Revolution )without necessarily mentioning
"n the Jerman spea/ing part $=9 of the surveyed communes use the assem ly system! 219 in the 'rench@spea/ing part and only 1. "n general! there were only very few attempts and mostly they did not ma/e it to the vote ecause not enough signatures could e collected )such as the recent case in the city of ?ellin&ona.8$. which caused a ma:or uproar among the %atholic population.= The canton of ?ern introduced the possi ility to recall -arliament in #+. "n their survey among Swiss communes Ladner and 'iechter )13#1< .. There were two cases of unsuccessful recall votes! one in Schaffhausen )#1 Karch 1333..
. To date only si> cantons with recall procedures either to recall -arliament! Jovernment or oth still e>ist )?ern! Schaffhausen! Solothurn! Ticino! Thurgau! Uri. To my /nowledge of the literature! there is only one successful case< the recall of the 4rgovian -arliament in #+28! after -arliament granted religious and administrative autonomy to the two Lewish villages of Endingen and Lengnau )Schaffner #$$2< #=2. have e>tended recall to the local level. "ndeed! in the case of Uri every elected ody can e recalled. 'or very practical reasons the 5Landsgemeinde5 was difficult to maintain since assem ly sDuares were soon not ig enough for a growing population. Without an already e>isting repertoire of social and political action this rea/through would not have een possi le< the launch of petitions! the organi&ation of people assem lies disregarding census restrictions )mainly ased on wealth.8$.9 in the "talian@spea/ing part of Swit&erland )Ladner6'iechter 13#1< .89 no votes )see anne>.! and one in ?ern )#+=1. 7owever! on a communal level this form of direct democracy is still widely practised...
Kost of them represented and originated from opposition groups that lost a attle in -arliament )in the cantons of Balais and Lucerne! similarly to St. 'urthermore! not all tra:ectories of cantonal democratisation have een well documented.. Jallen is not surprising once you loo/ at the conditions that had to e fulfilled for a veto to go through. 7owever! the num er of votes cast had to pass a dou le threshold! the simple ma:ority in the assem ly and the ma:ority of all citi&ens )a sentees were counted as votes agreeing with the status Duo! in this case in favour of the law...ley 1333! Suter 1332. "n the following years such loosely organised mass parties formed in all other cantons as well. The first clima> of party movements occurred during the Sonder und war #+. )Jruner #$2$< 12. 4s 4uer )13##. and later wor/s )4uer #$$2! Roca64uer 13##! 7angartner6..= days in all communes of the canton a dou le ma:ority of voters had to oppose a law otherwise the veto failed )KIc/li #$$2< 1#3. Thus the veto made it into the %onstitution! reinforced y physical presence! threats! and occasional violence.* and the struggle for a federal state! the second one during the #+23s! during the time of so called 5democratic movement5 aiming at an e>tension of direct democratic rights )Jruner #$2$< 1*. Jallen etween #+8# and #+2#! in . ecame common practice..
. The initiation of the veto had to ta/e place on the communal level where =3 citi&ens had to call for an assem ly of all citi&ens which then had to decide whether a law should e opposed or not. 4s Jruner )#$2$< 1=. states in his overview of the latest historical research on the emergence of direct democracy! despite of the seminal and far reaching wor/ of . 'or the #$. The 5Landsgemeinde5 cantons were very near! serving as a real e>isting e>ample of popular sovereignty )Wic/li 13##< 1#3. Especially! the physical presence of 233 men from the Rheintal area in front of the hall where the constitutional assem ly was going to reside played a crucial role )Thursday! #8 Lanuary #+8#. Jallen when mem ers of the %atholic church! a minority in -arliament at that time! managed to oppose and to vote down an anti@clerical ill in #+8.! the doyen of Swiss party research! puts it< Swiss political parties are the 5children5 of direct democratic rights. The low success rate of the veto in St. The use of the veto actually led to the first political party in St. Despite the very few veto votes that actually too/ place! this em ryonic direct democratic instrument nevertheless had indirect effects..Il& )133.3 cases a veto movement formed! however! only four of them finally made it to a vote )Jruner #$2$< 12. Some of the men were armed with stic/s and threatened which is why this day ecame /nown as 5Stic/s Thursday5 )Stec/lidonstig. laws that were passed in the %anton of St. 7istorically spea/ing! referendum movements that formed! dissolved and were reinvigorated y political elites ad@hoc can e interpreted as the predecessors of political parties.... Thus within . Jallen the %atholics! in Baud! ?ern and Jeneva the Radicals.! some pu&&les still remain... The veto right and later on the referendum right thus supported the formation of party@li/e movements on a road scale )since one had to mo ilise in order to collect the necessary signatures and to get organised to run a campaign.it.
4rticle #8+ %onstitution< 4ny #33!333 persons eligi le to vote may within #+ months of the official pu lication of their initiative propose a complete revision of the 'ederal %onstitution.The Mandatory Constitutional Referendum and the Citizens' Initiative for a Total Revision of the Constitution ?etween #+. ?esides the direct democratic e>periences on the cantonal level! the direct election of :udges! the egalitarian and secular education system as well as the application of the collegial principle for e>ecutives and courts could e mentioned ).! the ill would not go through. 4s a compromise etween -rotestant and %atholic cantons! the %onstitution of #+. With the implantation of direct democratic mechanisms into cantonal %onstitutions the pressure to introduce them on the national level increased and can e seen as the ne>t evolutionary step.+ provided minority protection for the smaller! rather rural %atholic cantons of central Swit&erland in the form of a dou le ma:ority applying to all constitutional changes.= versus ##. See www.! and the 'rench revolution of #+83 spurring a series of constitutional referendums on the cantonal level )4uer #$$2a< $.! there was a road consensus among mem ers of constitutional assem lies throughout the country that referendums ought to e held in order to ratify newly drafted %onstitutions ).N..7owever! as so often in the contingent meanders of history! the causes of the successful diffusion of direct democracy in all Swiss cantons pro a ly lie somewhere in the middle. The dou le
Mechanisms of Direct Democracy at the National Level
Swit&erland was the first European country to permanently adopt egalitarian and democratic institutions ased on 'rench revolutionary ideas into codified law. The following list of direct democratic institutions is currently codified in the Swiss %onstitution of #+ 4pril #$$$ and the 'ederal 4ct on -olitical Rights of #* Decem er #$*2.= of 18. 1848 .< #33.. "n the course of history! institutional changes usually wor/ed towards a cumulative e>pansion of direct democratic rights and only very rarely were they a olished ).riesi6Trechsel 133+< =3@=#. 4fter the e>perience of #+31 with the first national referendum vote ever in the conte>t of the esta lishment of the 7elvetic Repu lic ).. Which means that a ma:ority of all voters and a ma:ority of the cantons is needed.
.ch for unofficial versions of the Swiss %onstitution and ma:or legislation in English. amendments to the 'ederal %onstitution M.admin. Direct democracy in Swiss cantons came a out ecause of an amalgamation of two political cultures! the late medieval assem ly tradition and the li eral@representative ideas spreading in the aftermaths of the 'rench revolution.3 %onstitution< The following must e put to the vote of the -eople and the %antons< a..Il& #$$2< #3$.+ and #+*8 only mandatory constitutional referendums for partial or total revisions of the %onstitution * as well as initiatives aiming at a complete revision of the 'ederal %onstitution+ were allowed..o ach #$$..Il& #$$2< ##2. "n the case of a split cantonal vote )##.
1874 The !tional "e#islative Referendum Until the introduction of proportional representation in national elections in #$#$ there were only two political parties on the national level! the largely dominant Li eral -arty )Radicals. Since the formerly progressive reform movement of the Radicals increasingly turned into a self@serving regime )Dardanelli 13##.3 %onstitution< The following shall e su mitted to a vote of the -eople< M.. The cantons defeated the contested laws in the vote of #2 Kay 133= )participation =3.< #38.o ach )#$$..ma:ority reDuirement seems to serve its function as a safeguard for cantonal interests up to our days. according to which conflicting ma:orities tend to occur when competences were to e passed on to the the federal government still holds. #3 To adopt the Duestion of principle a out a total revision of the %onstitution a simple ma:ority of the voters would suffice. This road! mainly -rotestant! movement for more direct participation and control of those in office comprised all linguistic regions and also put the federal level under pressure! eventually resulting in the introduction of the optional legislative referendum in the %onstitution of #+*. The pattern descri ed y .N c. "n which case the Duestion of principle whether to start a total revision of the %onstitution or not need only put to a vote in case the two cham ers G the (ational %ouncil and the %ouncil of States G would disagree.#9! cantons saying Oes 3. Cn the cantonal level! the 5democratic movement5 of the #+23s succeeded to introduce mandatory referendums for all laws in several cantons )Schaffner #$$2< #=2.! 13#8.. "n fact! it leads to the situation where a very small fraction of the overall electorate )de facto roughly 139. The reDuirements for an optional legislative referendum were to collect 835333 signatures## within $3 days after pu lication of the law or decree in the official ga&ette.. )1..
Bote results with the citi&ens saying Oes and the cantons (o occurred in the following years #+22! #$==! #$*3! #$*8! #$+8! #$$.. the Duestion of whether a complete revision of the 'ederal %onstitution should e carried out! in the event that there is disagreement etween the two %ouncils. 4 simple ma:ority of the people is enough for a referendum to e successful.. Eight cantons can also trigger the referendum. 4rticle #.+9! Oes votes 8.
. $ 4s the disparity of population si&e in the cantons grew over time! so too did criticism of the dou le ma:ority reDuirement increase. This happened only once so far in 1338 when the cantons opposed to a pac/age of ta> laws. 4 total revision of the %onstitution can also originate from -arliament. in small cantons is a le to loc/ the whole country )Linder 133*< ##3. and the %atholic %onservative -arty as a minority.. 4 vote in the %anton of 4ppen&ell "nnerrhoden weights more than forty times as much as a vote in the %anton of Aurich.. The opposite configuration occurred in the years #$#3! #$=*! 1331. The threshold was increased to =35333 signatures in #$** following the introduction of women5s suffrage on the national level in #$*# )the time frame to collect signatures was e>tended to #33 days in #$$*.! opposition and moderni&ing forces ecame more fervent! attempting at a total revision of the %onstitution in #+*1! and after failure again in #+*.
.$9 of the electorate to trigger an initiative! at the eginning of the last century around 29 of the electorate needed to sign up )Lut& 13#1< 18.. Cnly after a heated political de ate did the %atholic %onservative -arty )nowadays the %hristian Democrats. 1. 4ny #33!333 persons eligi le to vote may within #+ months of the official pu lication of their initiative reDuest a partial revision of the 'ederal %onstitution. -arliament in such case has no control over the proposed te>t which can ta/e the form of a general proposal or of a specific draft. Criginally! there was no time limit for signature collection. The #+ months time limit was only introduced in #$** together with a rise of the necessary num er of signatures to #335333. and the Social Democratic -arty manage to push it through )7angartner6. The citi&ens5 initiative aims at amending the %onstitution from outside of -arliament! which also e>plains why it was only reluctantly accepted. and are now difficult to implement ecause of conflicting international law! there is a
. 'or the adoption of the citi&ens5 initiative at the allot again a dou le ma:ority of the people and cantons is reDuired.! and only comprise one! well defined su :ect matter. 18$1 The Citizen's Initiative for !artial revision of the Constitution and the Counter %ro!osal &y %arliament The first attempt to introduce the citi&ens5 initiative to the %onstitution failed in #+*. Should the people accept! a corresponding ill has to e drafted y the national assem ly which is then again put forward to the people for a inding vote )reDuiring a dou le ma:ority. Such a vote too/ actually place in #$+$ ut did not go through as is the fate of most of citi&ens5 initiatives )though surprisingly 829 voted in favour of the initiative.. Boting (o means to support the referendum committee.. 4 popular initiative for the partial revision of the 'ederal %onstitution may ta/e the form of a general proposal or of a specific draft of the provisions proposed. Therefore voting Oes in the referendum means to confirm the already adopted ill. "n cases where -arliament agrees with a general proposition it is supposed to draft the respective constitutional provisions and su mit it to a vote. "n case where it does not agree! the proposition is put to a vote to the people )since the vote rather corresponds to a Duestion of principle! only reDuiring a simple ma:ority.. "t is possi le! for instance! to write a citi&ens5 initiative demanding the a olishment of the Swiss 4rmy. 4fter the introduction of the citi&ens5 initiative in #+$# it too/ =3!333 signatures to trigger a vote. So far this has happened only four times )#$==! #$**! #$$=! #$$2..(ote that the vote refers to the parliamentary ill! thus voters are as/ed whether they want to adopt the respective ill. Since there is no :udicial review on the national level it is up to -arliament to ma/e sure that citi&ens5 initiatives are formally correct! comply with mandatory provisions of international law ):us cogens..ley 1333< 888. "n Swit&erland the scope of direct democracy is wide. Since the Kinaret as well as the E>pulsion )of criminal foreigners. -arliament can declare citi&ens5 initiatives partly or completely void in case they do not comply to those minimal standards. #1 "n the year 13#8 it too/ #.#8
4rticle #8$ %onstitution< #. initiatives got accepted )see anne>.
o ach #$$. and future international treaties. The vote went through with =2. "n addition! -arliament was allowed to su mit further international treaties to the optional referendum.. and the limitations and safeguards for urgent decrees )#$. and to transform the optional treaty referendum from #$1# such that permanent treaties! the accession to international organisations and multilateral unifications of law can e challenged y =35333 signatures.
. 7owever! the rather restricted scope of the optional treaty referendum in its form of #$1# left much to desire.89 Oes votes and ##. %iti&ens5 initiatives with a ma:or impact on the Swiss political system include the introduction of proportional rule elections for the (ational %ouncil )#$#+. )see anne>.. -arliament treated the accession to the League of (ations as a constitutional matter and hence the vote reDuired the dou le ma:ority.! the treaty referendum )#$1#. "n the votes of #8 Karch #$** the initiative failed as
#. 13#3< 8=*.
de ate on how to evaluate citi&en5s initiatives prior to starting the collection of signatures. The proposition passed 83 Lanuary #$1# with *#.< #3=.! the optional referendum was e>tended in #$1# to some international treaties y a citi&ens5 initiative #2. The citi&ens5 initiative as/ed to su mit permanent treaties or treaties lasting for longer than #= years to the optional referendum. #. ?efore! one could only give a vote to either the citi&ens5 initiative or the counter proposal which were therefore canni alising each others votes.9 yes votes and 13 cantons in favour...=9. "n reaction to internationalisation and the immigration of foreign wor/ers! the right@wing nationalistic party 5(ationale 4/tion5 launched a citi&ens5 initiative in #$*= as/ing for an e>tension of the optional treaty referendum to all past )sicP. (ote that although %ounter -roposals are formally a competence of -arliament! in practice! the 'ederal %ouncil as the e>ecutive can su mit! however! not decide upon a proposal for a %ounter -roposal. %ounter proposals are usually less e>treme than citi&ens5 initiatives! however! they tend to incorporate some of the demands y the initiators and thus have! in general! a higher chance of passing. Treaty referendums were per se nothing unusual at that time! they were very common in the cantons already )Trechsel6SerdFlt #$$$.#.3 %onstitution.=9 of all treaties were potentially affected y it )Linder et al. Since the introduction of the new norm at the end of the #$23s only 8.= cantons adopting )participation **.$. Since #$++ the dou le@Oes with a tie@ rea/ Duestion is applied.. 1$'1(1$77 The !tional and Mandatory Treaty Referendums 4fter am iguities on how to deal with the decision of the authorities to :oin the League of (ations in #$13 #= ). The counter proposal wor/ed out y the 'ederal %ouncil actually suggested to go even further in certain respects and to introduce mandatory treaty referendums reDuiring a dou le ma:ority in the case of an accession to organisations for collective security or to supranational communities )4rt."n case of a specific draft! -arliament is allowed to couple a citi&ens5 initiative with a counter proposal. This nicely demonstrates the refle>ive nature of direct democracy since it can e>pand itself with the help of the very instruments it was created. The %ounter -roposal is an option for -arliament! not an o ligation.
4 minor reform in 1338 further e>tended the optional treaty referendum. on the national level! earlier in some cantons.! for the ones which are compati le with the %onstitution only an optional referendum option e>ists.N d.... 4t first this seemed li/e a good idea and it was adopted in an uncontested vote $ 'e ruary 1338 )see anne>. Legislation via urgent decrees used to e particularly prevalent during the economic crisis in the #$83s and the Second World War. c that Qemergency federal acts that are not ased on a provision of the %onstitution and whose term of validity e>ceeds one yearE such federal acts must e put to the vote within one year of eing passed y the 'ederal 4ssem ly.. 'or unconstitutional urgent decrees e>cluded from the referendum clause y -arliament a mandatory referendum has to e organised after one year )dou le ma:ority applies. wee/s ahead of the official polling
The optional treaty dispositions of 4rticle #.riesi #$$2< #$3. 7owever! postal voting has gradually een simplified and is now the most common form of voting in Swit&erland )introduced #$$.clearly as the counter proposal won )see anne>. 7owever! the practical handling of this instrument was less evident and the incentive to ma/e use of it very low..#* 1$4$ Mandatory and !tional Referendums in )ase of *r#ent +e)rees "n an attempt to regain power over -arliamentary acts that tried to avoid referendum votes y applying an urgency clause! further mandatory and optional referendums were introduced. "n the latter case =35333 signatures need to e collected and a simple ma:ority would apply.. are of unlimited duration and may not e terminatedE 1.. 4 out one hundred important decrees were thus e>empt from the referendum clauses during that period )Trechsel6.eneral Initiative' The latest addition in this historical line up only represented a lip on the screen.. Why collect #335333 signatures without having any control of what might happen when with the same amount of signatures it is possi le to write directly into the %onstitutionH The instrument was therefore ta/en off the shelve in a referendum vote in the year 133$ without much further ado )see anne>.. Thus an initiative can e su mitted as a general proposition and it is then left up to -arliament to decide on which level the demand is supposed to e implemented.#+ '. 4rticle #. "n cities more than $39 of the voters cast their vote y post )starting 8@. international treaties that< #.R
.The '.# %onstitution states in -aragraph #! Lit. contain important legislative provisions or whose implementation reDuires the enactment of federal legislation.
'or more than a century voting used to ta/e place at the allot o> or in the open in the case of the 5Landsgemeinde5 in one or several dedicated pu lic spaces in the commune. The idea was to avoid an over@crowding of the %onstitution with amendments that did not actually elong there and could e regulated on the level of a law or ordinance. provide for accession to an international organisationE 8.# %onstitution read as follows< Mare su mitted to the vote of the -eopleN M.
"n #$3$ the 5Schwei&erischer Ber and fFr das 'rauenstimmrecht5 )S'B. Cnly in #$*# did the vote go through )see anne>. Swiss Lews! women! criminals! people in de t or of 5 ad5 reputation were all at some point e>cluded from political rights. 4 first attempt on # 'e #$=$ clearly failed )2*9 (o! #$ cantons against! turnout< 2*9. "t too/ several attempts to fully harmonise political rights across all cantons. (o further increase in turnout can e detected.. Suasi@e>perimental studies were a le to Duantify an increase of turnout due to the seDuential introduction of postal voting amounting to a considera le . 4ll earlier attempts y -arliament ) ac/ to #$#8.! a largely middle@class association to lo y women5s voting rights! was founded.+9. The hope for a further increase in turnout and efficiency gains due to the adoption of new technologies have lead to e>periments with voting via the internet.. The e@voting solutions for the Swiss a road are hosted y the systems of either Jeneva or Aurich.. "n the #$th century! in the first few decades of modern Swit&erland the struggle was to implement full political rights for Swiss residents not necessarily living and wor/ing in their canton of origin..= cantons in favour! turnout< =+9. 4s a part of the official e@ Jovernment strategy of Swit&erland! e@voting for the Swiss living a road is supposed to e availa le in all Swiss cantons y the year 13#=.. The canton of ?asel@%ity started with the (ovem er 133$ vote )with a high e@voter turnout of .#9 on average )LFchinger et al. 4lthough it is official policy to /eep all channels open! voting at the allot o> seems to ecome less common! while voting y correspondence is ecoming the norm. Cn the cantonal level! 4ppen&ell "nnerrhoden resisted
.day. So far we can only o serve a su stitution effect from postal to internet voting. 7owever! women5s suffrage on the national level was only introduced in #$*# y a national referendum vote )* 'e #$*#! 229 Oes! #=. after it passed oth parliamentary cham ers! not without opposition ut with solid ma:orities.. 4mong the Swiss a road internet voting seems to ecome well accepted and highly appreciated.
Who is allowed to vote?
"n the course of history voting rights on the national level have gradually een e>panded. 4fter an initial 5novelty effect5 with e@ voter turnout rates a ove 839 in the trial communes! the use of the internet as a voting channel then typically hovers around #3@13 percent of the voters depending somewhat on the specific setup. and others have already followed )SerdFlt 13#3. Regarding women5s suffrage we can note that Social Democrats and trade unions advocated the women0s right to vote already in the late #$th century. "t is left to the communes whether they want to cover the postage fees for the return of the allot or not. (owadays regarded as may e the dar/est stain in the history of Swiss democratisation! it too/ the men two attempts to grant women their voting rights. for decades )Linder 13#3< 12+. 133*. were loc/ed and delayed y the 'ederal %ouncil )the e>ecutive. %urrently! the trials are operational in three pioneer cantons Jeneva! (euchTtel and Aurich..
4 first attempt in #$*$ resulted in =3. or passive )to e elected. Kost nota le among the direct democratic instruments not availa le on the national level are the initiative to introduce! change or a olish laws as well as the so called financial referendum allowing to loc/ e>penses and to have a say on the udget or ta> rate )Konnier #$$2! Trechsel6SerdFlt #$$$! %hristmann 13#3< 2=. and (euchTtel )133#! five years residence in the canton. su titles.implementation until #$$3! when finally the 'ederal %ourt made it clear that the new norm had to e accepted and enacted. Since #$$1 Swiss citi&ens living a road are allowed to participate in national referendums and elections via postal voting without having to travel to Swit&erland. To e eligi le they have to register in their local Swiss em assy and renew their registration form every four years.#$ "n order to enfranchise young people and to familiarise them with politics as early as possi le y active practice voting age was lowered from 13 to #+ years13. ?y 13#= all cantons plan to offer internet voting to their citi&ens living a road. The last and currently most fervently de ated frontier of general suffrage seem to e political rights for foreigners. 4 second attempt in #$$# succeeded with *89 Oes votes and all cantons accepting.$! Baud 1338. The cantons of Lura )#$*$! ten years residence in Swit&erland! one year in Lura... cantons against it.. voting rights for cantonal or communal matters. That vote was valid for the federal level. 7owever! this does not include the right to e elected into an e>ecutive office or -arliament..! Jrau Fnden )1338! #+ communes have introduced it so far! all of them smaller ones.+9 of the voters and #. -ioneer among the cantons is Jlarus! having accepted the voting age #2 in a 5Landsgemeinde5 in 133*. ?y #$$1 all cantons have! however! followed and lowered the voting age from 13 to #+ years as well.
. 4s usual! diffusion and e>perimentation happens in the 5la oratory5 of the cantons.
Mechanisms of Direct Democracy at the Cantonal Level
Some more direct democratic instruments! more so than on the local level actually! e>ist on the cantonal level. The de ate whether to lower the voting age to #2 years pops up from time to time.
See also the documentary film y Erich Lang:ahr on the last men@only 5Landsgemeinde5 in 7undwil 4ppen&ell 4usserrhoden called 5KUnner im Ring5 )engl.! and ?asel@Stadt )133=! none so far! ut would only apply to ?ettingen and Riehen. Cthers have ta/en a more cautious approach and granted their communes the option to introduce voting rights for foreigners! such as 4ppen&ell 4usserrhoden )#$$=! till now in the communes of Wald! Speicher and Trogen. Some cantons have already introduced voting rights for foreigners on the communal level under certain conditions )'ri ourg 1332! Jeneva 133=! Lura #$*$! (euchTtel #+. %antons are actually free to decide whether they want to introduce active )to vote and to elect. have even e>tended active voting rights for foreign residents on to the cantonal level.
Such was the case! for e>ample in the #$*3s during the oil crisis and to a lesser degree in the #$+3s with a youth movement fighting against the esta lishment and then again during the economic recession in the #$$3s. ?etween #+.
Cn the cantonal level< #$*3@#$*$ there were #58=2 votes! #$+3@#$+$ #5823 votes! #$$3@#$$$ #581= votes! 1333@133$ #5##1 votes! 13#3@13#1 823 votes )see< www.+ and early 13#8 a total of =+. 1# Since direct democratic mechanisms are also! though not e>clusively! a weapon for the political opposition! an increase in its use can also e interpreted as a manifestation of intensified political struggles often related to uncertain or unsta le socio@economic conditions.Fre !ency of "se
Cver time the num er of votes on the national level has increased considera ly. These phases were also mar/ed y an increase in party competition. 7owever! if we count the re:ection of citi&ens5 initiatives! the acceptance of counter proposals! of mandatory as well as of optional referendums as e>pressions of governmental support it ecomes clear that the voters have endorsed the authorities to a high degree across all decades since #+$3s. votes have een put to the allot )see Ta le #.
..1. 7owever! this interpretation on a highly aggregate level should not disguise the fact that the political elite can lose out on su stantially important matters and then has to cope with it )Trechsel6Sciarini #$$+. There is a trend to pooling issues )SetUlU #$$$< #. otherwise the Duantity would not e managea le.ch. During those periods the Swiss society and economy underwent ma:or transformations..c1d..
Ta&le 1/ 0ational referendum fre1uen)ies &y de)ade and ty!e of le#al instrument Decade #+.= 3 = 3 3 #1 # . .+ mio in #$** to =. Cverall counter proposals y -arliament have a good chance of getting accepted. #8 #33 = 8$ # = $ 8 1. $3 8 $ 1 # # # 8 8 18 13 #2. 8 1$ $ ## * +2 1 11 = 1 #2 = 2 . The degree of organisational capacity of political parties and civil society have also increased! in addition the electorate grew considera ly11 while the threshold for collecting signatures stayed untouched since #$**.# mio in 13#8. 8 #* 3 #3 1 1 #8 * 8 + . 21 8 12 1 # 12 = 1.+ $= *2 #+.
. 12 3 18 .
Source< www.+@#+=$ #+23@#+2$ #+*3@#+*$ #++3@#++$ #+$3@#+$$ #$33@#$3$ #$#3@#$#$ #$13@#$1$ #$83@#$8$ #$. . They allow the political elite to react to demands formulated in initiatives and to stay in an institutionalised dialogue
'rom 8. Since #$++ when the option of the dou le@Oes was made availa le the chances for citi&ens5 initiatives to go through clearly improved.3@#$.ch %omparing the three main types of direct democratic instruments we can state that none of them predominate.$ #$=3@#$=$ #$23@#$2$ #$*3@#$*$ #$+3@#$+$ #$$3@#$$$ 1333@133$ 13#3@13#8 Su total Total %iti&ens5 %ounter Kandatory Cptional "nitiative proposal Referendum Referendum Total Oes (o Oes (o Oes (o Oes (o 3 3 3 3 # 3 3 3 # 3 3 3 3 # + 3 3 $ 3 3 3 3 1 # 8 = ## 3 # 3 3 1 # 1 2 #1 # 1 3 3 * 8 8 2 11 # 8 # 3 8 # 8 1 #. 'or decades launching a successful citizens' initiative was an almost singular event! not to spea/ of winning one.8 .
#. The freDuent complaint that it recently ecame more difficult to collect signatures is not supported y the data. 8+ #$# #*# =+. # 1 3 3 * 3 # 3 ## 8 ## # # * 1 1 = 81 3 2 8 3 2 3 1 2 18 # = # # # # . 11 #2 #.c1d. Cnly since the #$*3s! coinciding with the so called 5participatory age5! initiatives seem to have a more direct impact. The freDuency of use during the last few decades suggests that they all seem to perform a useful function in the Swiss political system.
89 the mo ili&ation for the referendum on the accession to the European Economic 4rea that too/ place in #$$1 was the highest since #$. This shift is indicative of the more confrontational politics Swit&erland is currently e>periencing.
.19 in #$+$ )see anne>..= percent in a slight trend upwards )see Jraph #. Without putting Swiss direct democracy into Duestion in principle G far from it G it might e wise to turn the heat down a it. 4ll political actors as well as the media system are very much a sor ed y referendum politics and " am wondering whether we have may e not reached a point where too much heat is constantly pumped into the pressure coo/er. 4 similarly high mo ili&ation rate in the last decades was only attained y the citi&ens5 initiative intending the suppression of the Swiss 4rmy! which resulted in a participation rate of 2$.
"t is nowadays almost customary to lame the freDuent use of direct democracy for the relatively low average turnout rates for referendum and election votes on all three state levels. %ausal factors generally put forward to e>plain the partially high a senteeism in Swit&erland such as 5the freDuency of allots5! the 5)low. With the e>ception of a few nota le pea/s! turnout rarely crosses the =39 or even 239 mar/. 7owever! so far such a proposition was not a le to find a political ma:ority.. De facto! the political agenda is 5:ammed5 with referendum votes.. Therefore signature reDuirements should e increased considera ly.with the citi&ens during a legislature. competence of
"n place since #$=$! informally! more or less according to party strength in -arliament! reserving the Li eral Democratic -arty! the %hristian Democrats and the Social Democrats two seats in government! and one seat for the Swiss -eople5s -arty )which got their second seat in 1338 at the e>pense of the %hristian Democrats. 'urther political struggles have led to a situation in which the optional referendum is now used y the political left and right to fight against the effects of economic li eralisation! Europeanisation and glo alisation. 4fter a vote is efore the ne>t vote with yet another campaign. The long@term average turnout rate dropped after the Second World War from roughly 239 to around . 4 matter of concern is the high num er of votes.. Mandatory referendums are in a sharp decline while the use of the optional referendum is shooting up.39 during the #$*3s and currently amounts to around . Low turnout seems to e the price to pay in a polity with such strong elements of direct democracy )Trechsel 1332E Lut& 133*E Linder 13#1.*. Starting in the #$$3s we can o serve a shift from the use of the mandatory to the optional referendum. During the #$$3s the grand coalition of the four ma:or political parties represented in the Swiss E>ecutive 18 G colloDuially also called the 5magic formula5 G started to come under stress and eventually ro/e up after the elections in 1338 when the Swiss -eople5s -arty ecame the strongest political party in the (ational %ouncil. With a turnout of *+.
%omparative turnout studies came up with interesting results for the Swiss conte>t )'reitag 13##. Even though the actual the fine for not turning up must have varied considera ly! was sometimes not enforced or very low! comparative studies across all cantons confirm the importance of )the lac/ of. The older generation of the current electorate thus grew up under a regime in which voting was very much perceived as a civic duty.riesi 133=< ##8. .citi&ens5 or 5the salience of the issue at sta/e5 only partially ma/e sense when o serving longer diachronic trends.ra!h 1/ 2vera#e turnout for Swiss national referendum votes !er year 3#rey &ars4 and ten year movin#-avera#e 3!un)tuated line45 187$'. compulsory voting as an e>planatory factor. The education level of the Swiss population has increased since the Second World War without a positive impact on participation! and despite the increasing num er of allots in recent years average turnout has not dropped.
. There were always more or less comple> issues on the allot..1'
90 1933 1907 1889 70 1912 18791884 60 1891 1898 1896 1893 18971902 1915 1908 1921 1919 1914 1917 1922 1920 1923 1931 1939 1928 1945 1944 1924 1926 1929 1941 1949 1953 1950 1956 1954 1965 1960 1964 1962 1967 1969 1973 1975 1989 1959 1974 1970 1971 1977 1988 1993 19841987 1994 1990 1981 1991 1996 2005 2002 2001 2007 2012 2011 1930 1935 1947 1951
Source< www.c1d. 4s a group they therefore show lower turnout rates as well ). Boting too/ place at the allot o> where everyone could see it )at least in rural places. Second! the late adoption of women5s suffrage has negatively affected older cohorts of women who only received voting rights in #$*# after their primary political socialisation.ch (ote< referendum votes too/ place in most ut not in all yearsE the average turnout per year was calculated as the simple arithmetic mean of the turnout for each separate allot vote. 'irst! most cantons actually stopped compulsory voting after the Second World War or in the early #$*3s. "n addition! social control was still very much at play. and postal voting was not generalised yet..
2 21. Research is! however! uncertain a out the magnitude of the three identified groups.= .8 ==..2 22..1' 9ote7 . 9ote1 9ote' 9ote'.1 8861 2+.2 *1.2.3 =*. 7-68 *=.11 9ote4 9ote7 9ote8 '.1..$. With the help of a com ined data set over seven
..2 =8. 7owever! voter registry data can! in some respect! give a more precise account of turnout.. . . 4mong the model citizens we find more men who tend to e more than =3 years old with an interest in politics as well as a higher education.. They can identify less well with a political party and tend to distrust government. The profile of selective participants regarding gender! age! education! party identification! left@right placement and trust in government conforms to the average of the Swiss citi&ens represented in the BCV surveys.allen5 in !er)ent 1(1 '.8 1(' 1(1(4 1(7 1(8 1(7
Source< Statistics office canton of St.< #8*. So far! the actual magnitude used to e investigated mainly with the help of survey data.* 23.2 *#. Ta&le '/ Cumulative !arti)i!ation for seven )onse)utive referendum votes in the City of St6 .o ach )#$$. This suggests that there are therefore =39 that are selective participants )Linder 13#3< ###@##1.2 2*.$..1 8868 2$.= *.8 2*.?ased on the BCV polls! conducted after each vote since #$**! we can distinguish three types of voters )Kottier #$$8.1 21 =#.8 2$.* 21.*.2 *1.# *3. suspects the num er of voters who participate at least once a year is considera ly higher than average turnout figures. 21. "n the group of abstentionists we! on average! find more women! younger age groups )13@8$ years old. as well as participants with lower levels of education. "n general! we consider 839 to elong to the group of model citi&ens who never miss a vote and 139 to never go to the polls. Jallen 4s .
it is possi le to follow the turnout of individual voters over time )SerdFlt 13#1. 4verage turnout rates for the seven individual referendum votes do not loo/ surprising. Cn the federal level! there are no transparency rules at all. During the decades with low average turnout levels in the #$*3s and #$+3s Swit&erland even e>perienced several waves of political activity and social protest movements ringing up topics so far neglected y the official channels )Loye6-apadopoulos #$$.! 13## )8 dates. They are mostly not for profit associations under private law and finance themselves from mem ership fees! donations and contri utions from office holders )Ladner 133*. They are actually rather high and range from ....
.#9 and 22.
Direct Democracy Cam$aigns
During a referendum campaign the government is allowed to present its viewpoint and give out a recommendation. These figures hardly mirror the picture of an apathetic electorate or of a largely silent ma:ority. and 13#1 )# date.89 within a time span of only two years. "n the %anton of Ticino! since Ccto er #$$+ donations of more than #3!333 Swiss francs to political parties have to e pu lished in the
1. Even though turnout rates can sometimes e alarmingly low we cannot spea/ of a general crisis of political participation in Swit&erland. The "nternet as a source of voting information is also ecoming more important ut does not ran/ very high yet. "t could very well go up to +39 for a whole legislature! not yet including elections.89 of the electorate in the %ity of St...=9 to =8.....9 )see Ta le 1. There is no o ligation for campaigners to reveal their identity or the amount of money spent. *=. 4longside the vote recommendations provided y political parties and interest groups! it is pu lished in most newspapers and there y offers important heuristic cues to the undecided voter )Trechsel6.riesi #$$2< #$$.1.
"n Swit&erland political parties are not state funded. Surprisingly! this is not the case )SerdFlt 13#3a. The government can furthermore e>plain its viewpoint in the official information rochure distri uted to each citi&en together with the voting material. To a large degree! however! Swiss citi&ens inform themselves with the help of newspapers and television )Trechsel6Sciarini #$$+. 4s we can see in Ta le 1 cumulative turnout already crosses the =39 mar/ for each consecutive pair of polling dates! which means that within only si> months more than half of the electorate was mo ili&ed for a formal political event.. Ta/ing note of how many voters participated at least once across all seven votes we can see that the cumulative participation rate clim s up to *=. Jallen have therefore participated in at leasts one polling day out of seven.. Cne would e>pect Swit&erland to having developed an e>tensive regulation on referendum campaigns! including rules on campaign financing! campaign duration and on media access.referendum votes for the years 13#3 )8 dates.. 7owever! Swit&erland would not e Swit&erland if there were no cantonal e>ceptions.29! respectively )see Ta le 1. The annual values for the years 13#3 and 13## amount to 22.
7owever! thus far there has only een one case.. The Swiss de ate on the Duestion of whether referendum results can e ought with money started with a study y Jruner and 7ertig )#$+8. Thus a lot of money is ta/en out of the game.! the initiative has rought a out some surprising policy changes in the field of environmental and social policy )moratoriums on JKCs and additional nuclear power plants.. concluding that there was enough evidence to ma/e the claim that in principle referendum results could e ought. puts it! direct democracy in the Swiss system can function as oth a 5 ra/e5 and a 5spur5 whereas the optional referendum stands for the 5 ra/e5 and the citi&ens5 initiative for the 5spur5. 1= "n the %anton of Jeneva! since Septem er #$$$ anonymous donations are for idden and transparency rules apply to political parties and to political groups engaged in campaigns as well. Cn campaigning in general! it is important to notice that political advertising on radio and television is for idden )SerdFlt 13#3a. "n reaction! counter e>amples in which money was not a le to uy the end result were presented. 7owever! it remains difficult if not impossi le to empirically prove that referendum results can e ought. Cn :udicial practice and what is allowed for pu lic authorities during a campaign! see the encompassing and detailed analysis y Tornay )133+. The rules also apply to cantonal initiative and referendum committees. 7owever! recent studies show that there is room for influencing a referendum campaign! especially when the issue at the allot is comple>! the e>pected result is going to e tight and the individual level of information of citi&ens is low ).riesi 13#1! ?ernhard 13#1. and the late adoption of women5s suffrage )also late introduction of paid maternity leave. Some authors argued that a professional organi&ation and infrastructure would play a crucial role as well! not only the availa ility of funds..official ga&ette..
. See for e>ample the citi&ens5 initiative that colloDuially ecame /nown as the 5Ku&&le "nitiative5 )SerdFlt 13#3a< #*8. The %ouncil of Europe5s ody specialised on the topic )JRE%C. (on@compliance with this rule! however! does not seem to have very serious conseDuences. 'oglio ufficiale no 81613##. 7owever! the oundaries are not so clear cut since! for e>ample! the
%anton of Ticino. trying to stop governments to ta/e part in a campaign.! CS%E o servers for the national elections 13##! and Transparency "nternational repeatedly as/ for more regulation. %ommittees and political parties can only spend their money for posters! direct mailings and advertisements in newspapers.
F!nctions and %&ects of Direct Democracy
4s Dardanelli )13##< #=1. The political left continues to ma/e demands as/ing for more transparency in the political process in general! whereas the political right is rather concerned with limiting the government5s involvement12 in referendum campaigns. Whereas the referendum accounts! for e>ample! for a slow international integration )late U( accession! not an EE4 or EU mem er.
@ =3 @ @
#1 $ = 1 + 2 = + 8 #8 8 #8 ..
The common feature of the optional referendum and the initiative is that they are oth launched y the collection of signatures.1.. 13 1$
1= *= =3 =3
#+$#@#$33 #$3#@#$#3 #$##@#$13 #$1#@#$83 #$8#@#$.. $#
+8 .#@#$=3 #$=#@#$23 #$2#@#$*3 #$*#@#$+3 #$+#@#$$3 #$$#@1333 133#@13#3
@ @ @ =3 3 1= #.@#+$3
3 1 3 3 3 3 # 1 8 . * #3 #*
Source< ?ased on %1D archives and SerdFlt6Welp )13#1. . Ta&le -/ :ottom-u! votes &y initiators and histori)al !eriods5 with su))ess rates 31874-'.
. #3 $ + #3 $ 18 8# . 1= 88 .
1= =3 .. #* #$ #* 13
1... 13 =3
.4 "nitiator -olitical party in -olitical party "ndividuals or -eriod government in the opposition civil society W 9 passed W 9 passed W 9 passed
#+*. Even a political party represented in government will have to demonstrate from time to time that it is a le to launch a citi&ens5 initiative from time to time.3 8+ 3 #= 3 8# 3
88 .* . Direct democracy from ottom@up in Swit&erland was therefore very much a weapon for political parties in the opposition! however! it seems to ecome deeper ingrained in civil society over time )SerdFlt6Welp 13#1. 4s we can see in Ta le 8! however! political parties G whether in government or not @ are ma/ing use of the two 5 ottom@up5 direct democratic instruments as well.3 #$. 1 .heroin prescription for certain drug users and the acceptance of same se> marriage oth were accepted in a referendum vote )see anne>. We can also see that in the course of history civil society ased organisations ma/e an increasing use of the tools and are also Duite successful.
?esides their direct outcomes citizens' initiatives also have some well /nown indirect effects )Linder 13#3< #3*. and finally the Social Democrats )#$. This process was intensified after #$#$ when proportional rule elections were introduced. Kany more citi&ens5 initiatives are launched than actually voted on.8. They first of all have an agenda-setting effect.The main indirect effect of the optional referendum is that over time the institution has influenced the composition of the federal government! the 'ederal %ouncil )Linder 13#3< #1$.! trying to reach a compromise and thus to avoid the referendum or! in the worst case! deciding not to decide )-apadopoulos 133#< . Lut& )13#1< 12. Strong political minorities were a le to threaten and mo ilise for an activation of the optional referendum! until they were eventually co@opted into government )-apadopoulos 133#< 8$.. The party ecomes /nown and can uild up a ase of potential followers for the ne>t election. The most nota le indirect effect! however! is the fact that for a :ustified political reDuest! the government will enter into negotiations with the citi&ens5 initiative committee! eventually meeting some of the demands at least partially in a counter proposal or with an attempt to legislate efore the initiative is put to a vote )-apadopoulos 133#< 8+.. 4dding up indirect concessions via legislation in -arliament! Rohner )13#3. "t is also a political weapon for the ones that could otherwise not get heard in the media or did not manage to push something through -arliament.
. -olitical parties in power are thus doomed to find a compromise and to adopt a more consensual style of policy@ma/ing.! then the 'armers -arty )now the Swiss -eoples -arty. This is what happened when first the %atholics )#+$#. were allowed to have seats in the 'ederal %ouncil which is elected y -arliament.#. 1$9 of all initiatives were withdrawn. in her dissertation was a le to demonstrate that despite the low num er of citi&ens5 initiatives accepted in a vote! =39 of them had left their mar/ in legislative acts. (egotiations among the political elite and all antagonistic forces during the pre@parliamentary phase of the political process are thus very much common )informal and formal ones.. 'or smaller political parties launching a citi&ens5 initiative may e a strategy that pays off. The hope is that the initiators will eventually withdraw the su mitted te>t. 4s we can see in Ta le . reports that etween #+$# and 13#3 in total 8*+ initiatives were launched and that around a fifth failed to collect the necessary num er of signatures...
#@#$=3 #$=#@#$23 #$2#@#$*3 #$*#@#$+3 #$+#@#$$3 #$$#@1333 133#@13#3 Total Su mitted W = ..< Su mitted and withdrawn initiatives for a partial revision of the %onstitution y decade )#+$#@13#3. $ #2 ## 12 +8 1$
Sources< Rohner )13#1< 83. 'or e>ample< 'rom the 1# initiatives su mitted during the period #$8#@#$. (ote< The num er of withdrawn initiatives during a decade corresponds to the su mitted ones in that particular decade.
.*E ??l #$8= "" .8 1+8 Withdrawn1* W 9 3 3 # 1= 3 3 # 3 #1 =* 8 1+ #1 =1 * .! 'ederal %hancellery )www.ch.admin. Cn one hand such an evaluation at least partly depends on political preferences and whether they have een served well y direct democracy or not.* =2 ..Ta le . reminds us not to e too Duic/ to ma/e :udgement calls a out the efficiency and the overall performance of Swiss direct democracy.3 twelve were withdrawn )possi ly in a later decade. " could not agree more.. The initiative su mitted on # Ccto er # #$2$ regarding school coordination has een classified y article 8 of the 'ederal 4ct of Septem er 1=! #$*1! without withdrawal y the initiative5s committee or the holding of a vote )?undes eschluss F er das Bol/s egehren fFr Schul/oordination! ??l #$*1 "" #323E See also ??l #$*# "" #33#E ??l #$*3 "" *==. $ + 1# ## 18 #2 . Decade #+$#@#$33 #$3#@#$#3 #$##@#$13 #$1#@#$83 #$8#@#$. ## 1+ #2 8. "t has finally een classified y article $3 paragraph 8 of the 4ct on political rights of #* Decem er #$*2 )?undesgeset& F er die politischen Rechte! 4S #$*+ 2++E See also ??l #$*= " #8#*E ??l #$=# """ =.
-apadopoulos )133#< =1.3 #$.@81*.. Cn the other hand an assessment is em edded in a historical discourse on short to mid term pro lems a country is
'or political reasons! the initiative su mitted 8# Kay #$8= regarding the guarantee of the freedom of the press has never een voted on! nor has it ever een withdrawn.3 ..#8.
"n Swit&erland the political left never even came close to a ma:ority in -arliament.
.struggling with. Direct democracy will stay the most distinctive feature of the Swiss political system. 7owever! critically monitoring direct democratic institutions certainly is a necessity and helps to ma/e sure that direct democracy constantly reforms itself for the enefit of the institution. Cutcomes of referendum votes cannot completely e de@coupled from parliamentary ma:orities. Whether this can e attri uted to direct democracy is yet another Duestion. They are simply a reflection of the fact that the electorate for referendum votes and elections is the very same. 'rom today5s perspective Swit&erland seems to fare rather well on a num er of performance indicators. %onsidering the importance of direct democracy for a large ma:ority of Swiss citi&ens! for the political system as a whole and certainly also ecause of an 5institutional5 loc/@in effect! it is very unli/ely that Swit&erland is going to a andon its historical path. The ones disappointed y slow progress! most nota ly in the domain of social policies! should not forget a out the conservative nature of Swiss voters.
ampaigns Enlightening or Manipulating.. = )#... 1chieving Democracy Democratization in 2heory and /ractice.R"ES"! 7. 4euere "ch#eizerische 5erfassungsgeschichte 6hre 7rundlinien in !und und 8antonen seit $&9&. )13##. "n .1+*@832. )Ed. #@8=. Les origines de la d*mocratie directe en "uisse + Die . LCOE! D. 2he "#iss E:perience . The Emergence and Evolution of Democracy in Swit&erland. )133*.. et al. "n ?utler! D. )#$2$. )133. . 1nd! completely revised version. "n -apadopoulos! O.ampaign "trategy in Direct Democracy . )Ed. Direct Democratic . AFrich< Berlag (eue AFrcher Aeitung. Direct democracy! political culture! and the outcome of economic policy. 'RE"T4J! K. ?ER(74RD! L. )13##.'i(liogra$hy
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