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Abstract

Direct democracy and federalism are the two most distinctive features of the Swiss political system. Even though the forces of modernity are pulling towards an increased integration and coordination between the state levels, and are finally leading to a centralization of competences, the administrative structure is still very much decentralized and the principle of subsidiarity held high. In the first half of the 19th century Switzerland was characterized by a high cultural, linguistic and religious diversity. The formation of the modern Swiss state was a rather turbulent one, including the occupation by French troops under Napoleon (1798) and a civil war between the predominantly liberal, Protestant cantons and the Catholic Sonderbund cantons1 campaigning for cantonal autonomy (1847). Switzerland is also a country that underwent a rather late but rapid industrialization process, which eventually culminated in the political crisis of the violent general strike of 1918. Due to the tensions between Switzerland’s rigid and highly fragmented territorial structure2 and the rapid evolution of governmental tasks, reform of the Swiss political system has been high on the political agenda ever since the late 1960s.

Keywords

Direct Democracy Federal Constitution Swiss Canton Federal Council Swiss Citizen 
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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© Uwe Serdült 2014

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  • Uwe Serdült

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