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TIES THAT BIND Powered By Docstoc
for Swiss
and Unity
             1. Fair Laws
             2. Direct Democracy
             3. Compromise and
             4. External Threat
             5. A Common Identity
               •       Swiss Constitution : All
                       Swiss are equal before the
               •       Four lang enjoy equal status
               •       Fed govt gives support to
1. FAIR LAWS           cantons to protect minority
                   –      Eg small G-community in I-
                          speaking region
                   –      allowed to preserve its
                          language and culture
               •       Cantons and communes are
                       governed independently
               •       Own parliament; some laws
                       unique to themselves
               •       Cantons and communes
                       make their own laws
                       decided by their citizens
               •       Thus, rights of citizens are
2. DIRECT   •   DD - a form of government
                where people participate
DEMOCRACY       directly in the decision-
                making process in all govt
            •   Every person can vote or has
                a choice about every
                decision made
            •   Decision-making shared
                among the people
            •   All above 18 can vote
             •   Fed/national level : Swiss are
                 called to vote on various
2. DIRECT        issues - usually 4 times a year
DEMOCRACY    •   Vote on issues from
                 membership in int’l orgns to
                 legislation of hard drugs
REFERENDUM   •   Canton level : people elect
                 own cantonal govt
             •   Decide and vote on education,
                 public health and local taxes
             •   No school, theatre or hosp is
                 built without people’s consent
             •   Commune level : people elect
                 own govt and vote on matters
                 of concern to them
             •   Almost everything in CH is
                 subject to a referendum
             •   Swiss citizens decide whether
                 any decision by parliament is
2. DIRECT        accepted or rejected
             •   Obtain 50,000 signatures if
                 one wishes to reject
REFERENDUM       parliament’s proposal or
                 propose a new law
             •   Then he can get the govt to
                 hold a referendum on the
             •   All new laws must have
             •   Support of majority of
             •   Majority of cantons
             •   Examples : Ban on firing of
                 guns during religious festivals
             •   Rejection of legalisation of
2. DIRECT    •     Change to the Federal
DEMOCRACY          Constitution needs 100,000
             •     Needs more signature
                   because changing the
                   Constitution is more serious
             •     For an Initiative to be passed,
                   must be agreed by :
                 –    Majority of citizens
                 –    Majority of cantons
             •   1971 : Proposal allowing
DEMOCRACY        women to vote
             •   Before 1972, Swiss women
INITIATIVE       had no right to vote
             •   An Initiative changed this
             •   1989 : An Initiative was
                 signed by 113,000 to abolish
                 the Swiss army
             •   Turned down by a margin of
                 almost 2:1
             •   Set off a fierce debate on the
                 usefulness of an army in a
                 small neutral country
             •   The Swiss value
DEMOCRACY        independence & responsibility
                 of governing themselves
INITIATIVE       through this process of Direct
             •   Their direct participation has
                 given them a strong sense of
                 belonging and a stake in
                 building their own community
             •   Shared decision making is
                 valued and cherished
                •   Peace and harmony within
                    cantons and communes
3. COMPROMISE   •   Mainly because of a high level
& ACCOMMO-          of respect and tolerance for
                    each other
                •   For minority groups by
                    majority groups and vice-
                •   Possible because the Swiss
                    value peace and harmony
                    among different language
                    and religious groups
                •   This respect for each other
                    enabled different groups to
                    retain individuality
                •   Swiss history has shown how
                    fragile society is if they do not
3. COMPROMISE       exercise tolerance and
                •   Led to conflicts among
DATION              different groups in the past
                •   Swiss have been able to go
                    beyond respect to
                    compromise with each other
                •   Compromise involves one
                    group giving up certain
                    demands or rights so as to
                    avoid conflict
                •   In Switzerland, compromise
                    is a higher form of respect
                •   Let’s look at the ways they
                    compromise with and
                    accommodate each other
                •   Swiss realise that power to
3. COMPROMISE       govern must be shared among
                    the main language groups to
& ACCOMMO-          ensure harmony
DATION          •   Should not be dominated by any
                    single group
POWER-SHARING   •   Contrast with Sri Lanka where
                    power-sharing is impossible
                •   Why the difference?
                •   Power-sharing in Switzerland :
                    one way to avoid decisions by a
                    majority group
                •   Esp important in matters relating
                    to minority groups
                •   Process of negotiation and
                •   See page 80 Fig 14 on how
                    power is shared in the Federal
                    Council (FC)
                  •   Representation of language
3. COMPROMISE         and religious groups in FC
& ACCOMMO-            based on proportion in their
DATION                country
                  •   Until late 1999, the 3 main
POWER-SHARING :       language groups were
Language              represented in this 7-member
                  •   4G, 2F and 1I
                  •   Corresponds to proportion in
                  •   Romansh is usually not
                      represented (only 1% of pop)
                  •   Late 1999 : 5G and 2F
3. COMPROMISE          •   Swiss population : fairly equal
& ACCOMMO-                 number of Catholics and
DATION                     Protestants
                       •   In FC : fairly balanced
POWER-SHARING :            representation
Religion & Political   •   The 4 political parties are all
Parties                    represented in FC based on
                           number of votes they
                   •       Power-sharing within the
3. COMPROMISE              Federal Assembly which is
& ACCOMMO-                 made up of 2 Councils
DATION             •       The National Council
                       –     Reps from cantons and
POWER-SHARING :              various political parties
Federal Assembly       –     Each canton elects reps in
                             proportion to its population
                   •       Council of States
                   •       Power-sharing is also
                           practiced in the Swiss Army
                           and the postal service
                   •       See Page 82 Fig 16
3. COMPROMISE     •   The main advantage of
                      power-sharing in Switzerland
& ACCOMMO-            is that it gives importance to
DATION                minority groups
                  •   They have a say in matters of
POWER-SHARING :       concern to them
                  •   Thus their interests are
                      looked after
                  •   Gives them a sense of
                  •   Helps to promote harmony in
                      the country
                •       G-Swiss – majority
                •       Nothing to prevent them from
& ACCOMMO-              controlling the govt but they
DATION                  do not
                •       To avoid conflict, they are
FAVORING THE            very careful about the
MINORITY                feelings of minority groups
                •       Eg subsidy of French schools
                        in G-cantons
                    –     G-Swiss gives up right to
                          spend more money on
                          German schools so that
                          French schools can be
                    –     G-Swiss also agreed to set
                          aside more jobs in the Civil
                          Service for indigenous
                          minority groups
3. COMPROMISE   •       Fed govt : Spends more $ on
                        French and Italian
& ACCOMMO-              broadcasting prog than on
DATION                  German prog despite the
                        former being the minority
FAVORING THE        –     Eg the smallest radio-TV
MINORITY                  network for I-Swiss receives
                          25% of total budget for radio
                          & TV prog
                    –     5 times more than the share
                          due to them
                •       Look at Fig 17 on Page 83
3. COMPROMISE           •   All bank notes in
& ACCOMMO-                  Switzerland bear the
DATION                      name of the Swiss
                            National Bank in the 4
Bank Notes and Public       official languages

                        •   Public signs are also
                            usually in 3 official
                            languages and English
                 •       In some countries, minority
3. COMPROMISE            groups expect favourable
& ACCOMMO-               treatment from majority
                 •       But not in Switzerland where
                         they are willing to
Mutual Respect           compromise to avoid conflict
                 •       Eg All official documents
                         issued by Fed govt are in
                     –     Although the official lang are
                           given equal status in the
                     –     Subsequently translated into
                           French and Italian
                     –     F- and I-Swiss willing to
                           accommodate this procedure
                   •   One reason why the Swiss
                       stay united : Fear of external
4. EXTERNAL            invasion
THREAT             •   History : Many external
Fear of Invasion   •   To protect itself : Adopted
                       policy of neutrality since 16th
                   •   After invasion by Napoleon,
                       Swiss were determined never
                       to allow another invasion
                   •   Spend resources building a
                       strong army that anticipated
                       new threats
              •   WWI : Swiss neutrality
                  threatened when G-Swiss
4. EXTERNAL       passed military secrets to
THREAT            Germany
              •   WWII : Threatened by a
WWI & WWII        German invasion
              •   Mobilised entire army of
                  250,000 within a few days
              •   Its readiness to defend itself
                  made enemy afraid to attack
              •   Neighbouring countries also
                  respected Swiss neutrality
              •   Explains why Switzerland was
                  not attacked in WWII
              •   WWII : Swiss borders
4. EXTERNAL       patrolled by 850,000 troops
THREAT        •   Fortresses built in the Alps to
                  repel any German attack
WWII          •   1940 : Germany ignored
                  Swiss neutrality and sent
                  warplanes into Swiss airspace
              •   They were shot down and the
                  invasion stopped
                   •   Swiss army constantly
                       prepared and ready
                   •   Conscription : Compulsory
THREAT                 National Service for all able-
                       bodied men between 20 and
Military Service       50
                   •   All undergo basic military
                       training followed by 8 years
                       of annual training
                   •   Officers : train up to 50 or 55
                   •   Military preparedness deeply
                       rooted in the Swiss
                   •   Each man keeps his own
                       weapon at home, ready for
                   •   Swiss army brought people
                       from different backgrounds
4. EXTERNAL            together for a common
THREAT                 purpose – to defend the
Military Service   •   People and army are one as
                       army is made up of citizen
                   •   For the young male Swiss,
                       time in the army is when they
                       mix with other men from
                       different lang or religious
                   •   NS is significant in uniting the
                       different lang or religious
                   •   Majority of Swiss believe that
                       remaining neutral is the best
4. EXTERNAL            way to ensure national
THREAT                 security and independence
                   •   A strong army with
Military Service       sophisticated weapons is
                       necessary to help maintain
                   •   In the course of history,
                       Switzerland has developed its
                       own defence strategies to
                       meet its special needs
                   •   Despite its small physical size
                       and limited natural resources,
                       Switzerland has a very strong
                       national defence system
                 •   Differences between groups
                     have never been serious
5. A COMMON          enough for the country to fall
IDENTITY             apart
                 •   Awareness of a shared history
Shared History       of 700 years – bind Swiss in

                 •   History of Switzerland began
                     in 1291
                 •   Page 87
                 •   The will of the people to be
                     an independent nation is an
                     identity all Swiss are proud of
                 •   1940 : Surrounded by
                     countries at war
                 •   Swiss General, Henri Guisan,
IDENTITY             gathered 500 senior military
                     officers again on Rutli
Shared History       meadow, the legendary
                     birthplace of Switzerland
                 •   Called on them to stand
                     united and fight the enemy,
                     whatever the cost
                 •   This gathering was an
                     inspiring and significant
                     moment in Swiss history
                 •   Guisan introduced a new
                     defence concept
                 •   Withdrew the army from the
5. A COMMON          borders and lowlands
IDENTITY         •   Concentrated it in the Alps
                 •   Determination of the Swiss
Shared History       army to defend the Alps from
                     1940 to 1945 helped prevent
                     an invasion
                 •   Since then, the Alps have
                     become a symbol of national
                 •   Gave the people a strong
                     sense of unity
                 •   WWII : Germans stopped
                     food supply to Switzerland
                 •   Swiss solved it by growing
                 •   Despite this and other
                     planned German invasions,
                     the Swiss never surrendered
5. A COMMON    •   A country of many traditions
IDENTITY       •   A rich culture kept alive over
Rich Culture   •   Celebrates its heritage with
                   holidays and festivals
               •   Vary from canton to canton
               •   Often reflect local traditions
               •   Put on traditional costumes
                   with pride
               •   All these give the Swiss an
                   identity to be proud of
                •   Sharing something in
5. A COMMON         common allows the Swiss to
IDENTITY            feel different from their
                    neighbouring countries
                •   Strong will of the people to
Willensnation       remain independent has
                    given them a common
                •   Swiss created the phrase
                    “Willensnation” – “a nation by
                •   Direct democracy, power-
                    sharing, neutrality, a common
                    history and a rich culture
                    have served to give the Swiss
                    a sense of national identity
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