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Thursday, May 8, 2014

More & more referendum in Switzerland?

Being not swiss but living in Switzerland, I always enjoy discovering new aspects of the political life here.
One of its most fascinating aspect is the "direct democracy" : Swiss people can directly decide on given topics. Some of the requests to change the Swiss constitution are asked by the government and other by the people themselves. The latest are called "popular initiatives".

One of my close friend here told me that he had the feeling that the number of popular initiatives is increasing lately. And he was right :



source data. In red are counted the rejected popular initiatives and in green the accepted ones.

However, the big increase in the 70's also coincide with the Swiss people (finally!) allowing women to vote for federal election/initiatives leading to the doubling of the number of voting people. If we add that the swiss population also constantly increases, we can see (click on any bar of the graph and you will see it as well \o/) that the relative number of popular initiative does not increase so dramatically anymore.

So it looks like active participation in the political life directly correlates with the number of people allowed to participate in it...

2 comments:

  1. Interesting graph. However, one point should also be taken into account. While, indeed, the number of voting people has increased in the 1970s (with the women being allowed to vote), the number of signatures required was also double (from 50'000 to 100'000) over the same period.

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    1. Thanks for the comments and for the complementary info.
      As we discussed it on twitter, that is totally true that the doubling of signature had an impact and that it should be taken into account to make a deeper analysis of what leads to the increase of popular votation (maybe the doubling was not enough (participation is maybe not linear), and if it was linear, then, the number of signatures should then also increase with the population which increased a lot from the 70s).
      For the plot, this doubling does not change anything however.

      Another friend of mine also told me that analysts of Swiss politics attribute this increase to the general polarisation of politics rather than to the number of voting swiss citizens.

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