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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 18, 2014

Liberal and Radical Democracies: The Swiss Cantons Compared

Marc Bühlmann, Adrian Vatter, Oliver Dlabac and Hans-Peter Schaub
From the journal World Political Science

Abstract

This article examines the widespread hypothesis that German-speaking Swiss cantons exhibit radical-democratic characteristics, while the Latin cantons possess stronger liberal-representative democratic profiles. Empirical and multi-dimensional measuring of the quality of democracy in the cantons shows that this hypothesis does not do the complexity of cantonal democracy justice. Today’s position of the cantons along the axes of liberal and radical democracy is best explained with reference to the strong liberal and democratic constitutional movements within the cantons during the middle of the 19th century.


Corresponding author: Marc Bühlmann, Institute of Political Science, University of Bern, Switzerland, e-mail:

Appendix: Short definitions of the indicators used

Liberal Dimensions

Liberal Constitutionalism
Individual freedom
Freedom rights
kv_frr_privaConstitutionally guaranteed protection of the privacy sphere
kv_frr_dignConstitutionally guaranteed protection of human
kv_frr_lifeConstitutionally guaranteed right to life, physical and psychic integrity
kv_frr_infoConstitutionally guaranteed freedom of information
kv_frr_dataConstitutionally guaranteed protection against misuse of personal data
kv_frr_movConstitutionally guaranteed freedom of movement
kv_frr_sciartConstitutionally guaranteed right to academic freedom and freedom of art
kv_frr_famConstitutionally guaranteed right to marry and to found a family
kv_frr_opinConstitutionally guaranteed freedom of opinion (building, uttering, propagating, and receiving)
kv_frr_belConstitutionally guaranteed freedom of faith, conscience and creed
Property rights
kv_frr_homeConstitutionally guaranteed protection of the sanctities of the home
kv_frr_estConstitutionally guaranteed freedom of establishment
kv_frr_propConstitutionally guaranteed protection of property
kv_frr_econConstitutionally guaranteed freedom of trade and occupational choice
kv_frr_exproConstitutionally guaranteed restrictions to expropriation
Acceptance of laws and regulations
kv_grr_relConstitutionally codified duty to respect the rights of others when exercising one’s own basic liberties
kv_legdutExplicit constitutional codification of everybody’s obligation to comply with his legal duties
kv_ordsecConstitutional codification of the state’s responsibility to protect the public security and order
crime_rate_NNumber of convictions under the penal law, per 1000 inhabitants (inverse)
Limited scope ot the state
Actual scope
Staatko_od_NTotal public expenditures by canton and municipalities, in CHF per capita (inverse)
Verko_od_NCantonal (and municipal) expenditures for general administration and authorities, in CHF per capita (inverse)
verwdich_ktgemPublic employees of canton and municipalities together, per 100 inhabitants (inverse)
Constitutional provisions
kv_checkConstitutional codification of a continuous assessment of public tasks for their necessity/portability
kv_budlimConstitutional codification of the principles of an economical and balanced budget management of the state
kv_finvorbConstitutional codification of conditional financing before adopting new public tasks
kv_taxhurdConstitutional codification of institutional barriers for tax increases
Rule of law
Supremacy of the law
Formal supremacy of the law
kv_pr_hearConstitutional codification of a right to a court hearing
kv_gesvorbConstitutional codification of legal proviso
kv_retrobanConstitutional codification of the prohibition on retroactive legislation
kv_pr_judgmConstitutional codification of a right for justified court ruling and instruction on the right to appeal
kv_willkverbConstitutional codification of the prohibition of arbitrariness
Substantive supremacy of the law
kv_grr_restrConstitutional restrictions of curtailing basic rights
kv_grrkernConstitutional codification of the inviolability of the core of basic rights
kv_grrbindConstitutional codification the commitment of public power and individuals to the basic rights
Legal equality
kv_pr_fairConstitutional codification of the right for a fair (/and equal) treatment in court hearings
kv_gratadviceConstitutional codification of the right for a free legal advice
kv_pr_gratConstitutional codification of the right of deprived people for free legal assistance and legal aid
kv_diskrverbExplicit constitutional prohibition of discriminating/benefitting certain groups with regard to the equality before the law
kv_rechtsglExplicit constitutional codification of a general equality before the law
Protection of minorities
Voting behavior favoring minorities
MF_FrauenMinority-friendliness of cantonal voting results at national polls regarding women
MF_SprachmindMinority-friendliness of cantonal voting results at national polls regarding language minorities
MF_AlteMinority-friendliness of cantonal voting results at national polls regarding elderly people
MF_BehinderteMinority-friendliness of cantonal voting results at national polls regarding handicapped people
MF_AuslaendMinority-friendliness of cantonal voting results at national polls regarding foreigners
MF_MilitaerverwMinority-friendliness of cantonal voting results at national polls regarding deniers of military service
MF_Junge_StimMinority-friendliness of cantonal voting results at national polls regarding the voting right of younger people
Consitutional provisions
kv_frr_langConstitutional guarantee of language freedom
kv_minprotConstitutional codification of the protection of the rights of minorities
kv_frr_cohabConstitutional guarantee of the freedom of the form of cohabitation
Horizontal accountability
Strength of parliament versus government
Independence
Eröffnung_NOpening of the new legislature period by government (inverse)
ParlamentsdienstIndependent parliamentary secretariat resp. later parliamentary services
Id_UnverIncompatibility of governmentary and parliamentary mandate
Supervisory powers
Akteneinsicht_AuInsight in files by inspection commissions
InforechtInformation right of members of parliament explicitly codified
Akteneinsicht_allInquiry and insight in files by general commissions
PUKPossibility of inserting a (powerfull) parliamentary fact finding commission legally provided
KonfliktregelungFinal decision-making competence in case of conflict between member of parliament and government
Legislative powers
Legislative competencies of parliament
Reg_programmParliament treats government program
ParlInitPossibility of parliamentary initiative
FragestundePossiblity of question time
Legislative competencies of government
FinanzbefugnisseFinancial competences of government (inverse)
DringlichkeitsrecRight of urgent acts by government (invers)
Notrecht_NRight in state of emergency by government (inverse)
Power sharing in parliament
Regulations to support power sharing
kv_readingsConstitutionally defined number of readings before adoption of laws by parliament
minfrakrel_NNumber of members of parliament necessary for building a fraction, in relation to the number of seats in parliament (inverse)
Strength of the opposition
OppositionsstaerkIndex of effective power of opposition parties versus governing parties in parliament (seat shares)
CoalitType2Coalition type of government (minority, surplus majority, minimal winning, hegemonial)
Judicial independence
Separation from executive and legislature
Unvereinbar_KRIncompatibility of mandate at the cantonal high court with parliamentary mandate
Funktionelle UnaIndependence of courts/jurisdiction codified in constitution or law
Unvereinbar_RRIncompatibility of mandate at the cantonal high court with government mandate
Personal independence
Unvereinbar_AnIncompatibility of mandate at the cantonal high court with mandate as advocate
PräsidentenwahlInstance for confirming resp. electing the president of the cantonal high court
Unvereinbar_VRIncompatibility of mandate at the cantonal high court with an administrative board mandate
AmtsdauerTerm of office of judges at the cantonal high court
AmtszeitbeschränLimitation of term of office at the cantonal high court (inverse)
Professionalization
EignungsprüfungInstance for controlling ability and eligibility of candidates for the cantonal high court
WahlvorbereitungInstance preparing elections
AufsichtsorganInstance of superintendence
Organizational independence
BudgetrechtCourts are sovereign in budgetary matters
VerwaltungsautoConstitutionally or legally codified right of autonomous administration of courts or jurisdiction
Antragsrecht_ParlRight for applying for finances directly at the parliament
Anstellung_KanzlAppointment of chancellery by highest cantonal court
Independent controlling instances
Administrative jurisdiction
VerwaltungsgericAdministrative court as ultimate authority in disputes concerning administrative law
GeneralklauselEfficacy of administrative court
VerwaltungsG_JaYears since introduction of an administrative court
RechtsweggarantiGuaranteed recourse to the cantonal courts also in cases concerning federal administrative law
Constitutional review
VerfassungsgericInstitutionalized constitutional court
VerfG_IndexIndex of powers of courts regarding constitutional review
Independent supervisory authorities
OmbudsExistence of a cantonal ombudsman
FK_UmfangScope of financial control
kv_fincontConstitutionally guaranteed independence of financial control
Electoral accountability
Secret elections
Free, secret, and regular elections
secelec_parlSecret ballot at elections of cantonal parliament
secelec_regSecret ballot at elections of cantonal government
Competition
Electoral vulnerability in government
CompRegElec2Difference between number of candidates and number of mandates in last total renewal elections
Kampfwahl_RegMore candidates than seats in last total renewal elections
wett_reg_se100% minus seat share of strongest party in government
Electoral vulnerability in parliament
wett_parl2_se_NDifference between largest and second largest party in parliament, in % of all seats (inverse)
wett_parl_se100% minus seat share of strongest party in parliament
Electoral availability
Electorate’s readiness to change their party vote
Volatilitaet_se_yeParliamentary volatility: Netto change of seat shares of parties, standardized for the length of legislature
reg_stab2Change in party composition of government
Clarity of governmental responsibility
Clarity of governmental responsibility
reg_party_NNumber of governing parties (inverse)
spann_NRange of party composition of governing coalition (inverse)
Governmental autonomy
Independence from the people between elections
reglegislTerm of office of government, in years
parlegislTerm of office in parliament, in years
ReferendumsaussNo subsequent referendum possible in case of urgent acts, according to constitution
Independence from specific interests
kv_transpintConstitutional codification of an obligation of members of parliament to disclose interest bonds
kv_freemandConstitutional codification of a free mandate for members of parliament
Autonomy from other state levels
transfer_NTotal revenues received from the federal state, in CHF per capita (inverse)
gem_init_ref2_NRight of initiative and referendum for single municipalities on cantonal laws (inverse)
Radical Dimensions
Radical Participation
Extended electoral rights
Direct popular elections
volkwahlYears gone by since the introduction of direct popular election of cantonal executive
regpraes_volkwaElection of the executive’s president in popular elections
ErnennungsbehörPopular elections for the judges of the highest cantonal court
beratung_wahlInstitutionalized opportunitiy for the citizens to collectively deliberate on elections and candidates
Possibility of recall
recall_regPossibility to recall the cantonal executive from office ahead of time by a popular initiative
recall_parlPossibility to recall the cantonal parliament from office ahead of time by a popular initiative
Direct democracy competencies
Rights of initiative and referendum
GIRIndex for the institutional openness of the popular statutory initiative, as proposed by Stutzer (1999)
VIRIndex for the institutional openness of the popular constitutional initiative, as proposed by Stutzer (1999)
GRRIndex for the institutional openness of the statutory referendum, as proposed by Stutzer (1999)
FRRIndex for the institutional openness of the fiscal referendum, as proposed by Stutzer (1999)
Other direct democracy instruments
verfahrinit_scopeExistence and scope of a popular right to propose a different order of votes, postponement of authorities’ projects, and/or revision of such projects
beratung_sachInstitutionalized opportunitiy for the citizens to collectively deliberate on the issues put to popular vote
KRRIndex for the existence and institutional openness of the “constructive referendum”
Use of direct democracy competencies
Frequent ballots
InitotNumber of popular initiatives put to vote
ReftotNumber of referendums put to vote
Local self-government
Financial and perceived municipal autonomy
foed_tax_NSize of municipal as compared to cantonal fiscal revenues
foed_schreiberDegree of local autonomy as perceieved and reported by the heads of municipal administrations
Constitutional municipal autonomy
kv_gembestConstitutionally guaranteed right for the existing municipalities to continued existence
kv_gemautConstitutional codification of municipal autonomy
kv_gemfusionConstitutional provisions concerning mergers of municipalities
Public accountability
Transparency of political processes
Transparency of parliament and communication by authorities
kv_vernehmlExplicit constitutional codification of the mechanism of consultation
oeffprinzLegal enactment of the general rule that any governmental documents are freely accessible to the public
kv_behinfoConstitutionally codified duty of the authorities to inform the public about their activities
ParlSecretSess_NProvisions concerning the possibility of secret sessions or secret decisions on single agenda items by the parliament (inverse)
ParlProtAccessibility and elaborateness of the minutes of parliamentary sessions
Transparency of government and courts
kv_publgerConstitutional provisions concerning the public access to judicial proceedings
kv_publregConstitutional provisions concerning the public access to government sessions
Media
Legal frameworks for the media
kv_infodivConstitutionally codified public task to promote information diversity
kv_zensverbConstitutional codification of the prohibition of censorship
kv_medfoerdConstitutionally codified public task to promote media access
Media diversity
pressdivPress diversity: Number of newspapers with self-contained, regular reporting on cantonal politics
presscompdist_exDegree of press competition within the subcantonal districts
Use of the media
RadioShare of survey respondents who use radio broadcasting for their opinion-making
ZeitungShare of survey respondents who use newspapers for their opinion-making
FernsehenShare of survey respondents who use television broadcasting for their opinion-making
Extra-institutional participation
Constitutional protection of extra-institutional participation
kv_frr_demoConstitutionally guaranteed freedom to demonstrate
kv_frr_petConstitutionally guaranteed right to petition
kv_frr_striConstitutionally guaranteed right to strike
kv_frr_assocConstitutionally guaranteed freedom of association
Participatory culture
MitgliedShare of survey respondents who are member of at least one political or economic organization
LeserbriefeShare of survey respondents who use letters to the editor for their opinion-making
InteresseShare of survey respondents who state to be very interested in politics
Inclusion
Equal political involvement
Universal suffrage
stimmalteraktAge required for the right to vote and to elect (inverse)
passelmin_go_NAge required for the right to be elected into the cantonal executive (inverse)
lady1Female suffrage
Ausl_StiRExistence and scope of suffrage for foreign residents
Equal use of voting rights
T_Bildung_NDisproportionality of actual participation rates between groups of different education levels (inverse)
T_Qualifikation_NDisproportionality of actual participation rates between groups of different occupational statuses (invers)
turnout_vTurnout rate in cantonal popular votes
T_Geschlecht_NDisproportionality of actual participation rates between gender groups (inverse)
Minimal resources
Social rights
kv_sr_workConstitutionally guaranteed right to paid work
kv_sr_dwellConstitutionally guaranteed right to housing
kv_sr_matminConstitutionally guaranteed rights to a minimal amount of material resources, in case of need to be provided by public funds
kv_sr_healConstitutionally guaranteed rights to the protection and advancement of one’s health
Rights to education
kv_sr_edurightsConstitutionally guaranteed right to (adequate) education
kv_sr_eduquantConstitutionally codified public task to provide several educational services
kv_sr_eduaccConstitutionally guaranteed right to an equal and easy access to the educational services
kv_sr_edugratConstitutionally guaranteed right to education free of charge
Inclusive representation
Minority-friendly electoral system
thresho_NEffective threshold to get a seat in the cantonal parliament (inverse)
proporz3regDegree of proportionality of the electoral systems for parliamentary and governmental elections
parlmandNumber of seats in the cantonal parliament
Representation of parties in parliament
raeRae index of parliamentary party fractionalization
Gallagher_NIndex for the effective disproportionality of the parliamentary electoral system, as proposed by Gallagher (inverse)
Voluntary proportional representation
reg_konkCumulated vote share (in parliamentary elections) of all parties represented in government
kommpropAverage number of seats in parliamentary committees per party
Proportional representation of socio-structural groupsProportional representation by gender
Frauenteil_govShare of female members in government
Frauenteil_parlShare of female members in parliament
Proportional representation by age and profession
DurchschnittsalteAverage age of the members of government and parliament (inverse)
disrep_prof_reg_Disproportionality of the occupational groups’ representation in government and parliament (inverse)

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Published Online: 2014-9-18
Published in Print: 2014-10-1

©2014 by De Gruyter