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Political Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 255–272 | Cite as

Political participation in Swiss referenda at federal and cantonal levels: 1879–1981

  • André Eschet-Schwarz
Article

Abstract

Political participation in the process of semidirect democracy differs in several important respects from political participation in elections in representative democracies. This study discusses patterns of participation in 300 referenda at the cantonal and federal level in Switzerland during the 1879–1981 period. The purpose of this survey is to account for cross-temporal and cross-cantonal variations in terms of: (a) referenda type, (b) competition intensity, and (c) the influence of a multiple political culture. The findings suggest that distinctive political cultures and life styles, and other collective factors account for turn-out percentages and competition intensity. Voters tend to mobilize essentially to reject constitutional revisions and laws rather than accept them. The significance of cross-temporal differences was found to diminish during the 1952–1981 period. This tendency toward increasing standardization of Swiss political participation does not, however, completely blur the specificity of participation within cantons, suggesting that the multicultural nature of Swiss society is still prevalent.

Keywords

Life Style Political Participation Political Culture Federal Level Important Respect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Eschet-Schwarz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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