Dr. Peter Troxler (p&s) on Sat, 24 Aug 2019 11:57:02 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> from Meatloaf to penalty Shoot Outs

Hi Sean

On 23 Aug 2019, at 21:20, Sean Cubitt <s.cubitt@gold.ac.uk> wrote:

I've no idea why the system works in Switzerland.

there are many reasons why it works (differently) in Switzerland — for me (being Swiss and knowing the system since I can think) — the main reasons are:

- you get referenda on city (municipality) level, on district/province level (kanton), and on national level
- it’s done regularly and on a broad range of issues (as one poster pointed out: building regulations regarding minarets, or national provision of bike paths)
- it has been there as an instrument of democracy since the early days of Switzerland (when the men used to congregate and vote by raising their hands

So firstly, in my opinion, it is this “normality” of a referendum (often four times a year, see https://www.bk.admin.ch/ch/f/pore/va/vab_2_2_4_1_2011_2020.html) and that people are used to the discussions and speculations around those decisions that make the referenda in Switzerland less prone to been overloaded with all sorts of issues.

Second, one might also argue, that to influence a referendum, you would have to work hard in minimum three languages (French, German, Italian) to influence voters via social media (not that this is impossible, but unfortunately, for example AI language processing is more advanced in English than in other languages).

Third, the national and provincial governments who have to implement the results of a referendum are different: they are separate from the parliaments that have to approve that implementation.  This is something that always surprised me in the UK, that ministers are MPs, this would be impossible in Switzerland (and most other democracies in Europe).

Lastly, parliaments (national an provincial) are more mixed — more parties involved, a culture and neet to compromise.

So it is not just the referendum, it is how the referendum is used in a rather different system of implementing democracy (oh, and did I mention that the “constitution” is actually a written document in Switzerland, not an assemblage of Acts of Parliament, court judgments and conventions).


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