Daniel Halliday
Mar 28 · Last update 2 mo. ago.
Should Switzerland be a global model of democracy?
Switzerland is governed under a confederate system of semi-direct democracy which gives citizens more power than any representative democracy and allows them to directly propose changes to the country’s constitution. Swiss citizens enjoy a high standard of living and rank high on a number of quality of life indices, could this be due to their system if governance? Could the Swiss model of direct democracy benefit other countries?
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Yes, but even Switzerland still has several serious shortcomings
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No, slows the political process
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Yes, Switzerland has a pioneering democratic system
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Yes, but even Switzerland still has several serious shortcomings

Despite being ranked amongst the best countries in the world by Transparency International (TI) for its level of transparency in terms of the organisation's Corruption Perceptions Index, Switzerland still has much room for improvement in terms of tackling corruption. TI's Index ranking does not currently take into account corruption issues such as private sector corruption, protection of whistleblowers or money laundering, all of which have been known of in the country. Due to this discrepancy Switzerland enjoys being ranked as one of the least corrupt countries despite the their banks being directly implicated in some of the largest corruption scandals in the world, such as the Malaysian 1MDB scandal or the Brazilian Petrobras scandal.

transparency.org/cpi2018 swissinfo.ch/eng/business/transparency-international_switzerland-ranked-among-least-corrupt-in-global-index/44716170

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No, slows the political process

Although the Swiss democratic system is widely recognised as one of the best in the world, the process of direct democracy can actually slow down implementing change as well as slow down the process of making decisions. Employing so many country wide referendums on all major issues in the country leads Switzerland to hold more public votes than any other country, that means issues don't just have to be regularly debated but also voted on. Following this slow decision making, implementing changes may be more difficult also, for example a proposed 16km rail link connecting Geneva to France is due to be completed in 2019, despite dating its origins back to 1850, as gaining consensus in this climate has been so difficult.

thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/uncategorized/321312-recent-events-highlight-some-shortcomings-of-democracy

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Yes, Switzerland has a pioneering democratic system

Switzerland has fostered one of the healthiest democracies on the globe through decentralised political roles, frequent referendums, and a large degree of autonomy for all regions of its confederate system. With a threshold of 50,000 signatures required to be able to begin a referendum, regular referendums take place, constitutional referendums are mandatory, and people have become used to a higher degree of democratic participation. This all results in a system were the citizens are more involved in politics, and political awareness is more valued in society, this system could indeed benefit and act as a model to other countries with limited democracy or extremely low voter turnout.

direct-democracy.geschichte-schweiz.ch

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