The Swiss model of direct democracy is unique in the extent to which it prioritizes local decision-making, enables citizen action, and requires broad agreement for national initiatives. Participants on this journey were able to learn more about this unique model from Marceau Schroeter who joined us both as a representative of the City of Geneva and the organization Pop Democracy and from Luc Zimmerman who is President of a local political party. The group engaged in conversation about advantages, challenges, and opportunities of this and other governing and decision-making systems.
Introduction to the Swiss System of Direct Democracy
by our Co-hosts
What We Saw and Learned
On this journey we walked to Geneva’s old town where we joined our co-hosts in a restaurant that is often used for informal political meetings.
Some of the things that we learned about the way that that the Swiss democratic system functions were:
It is an active and inclusive political system with citizens participation at every step of the process
The key to the system is the opportunity for citizens to control the government
The threat of a referendum or a people’s initiative creates accountability
Switzerland doesn’t provide much civic education in schools for preparing its future citizens to grow into and participate in the direct democracy system