Swiss Voice

By Popper, Nathaniel | Harvard International Review, Fall 1999 | Go to article overview

Swiss Voice


Popper, Nathaniel, Harvard International Review


Abstract:

In the Swiss general elections on October 24, 1999, the Swiss People's Party, the only one of the 4 major Swiss political parties to oppose European integration, stunned the European political establishment by gaining 7.9% of the vote from the last election in 1995, leaping from last to first place in the popular vote.

Text:

In the Swiss general elections on October 24, 1999, the Swiss People's Party (SPP), the only one of the four major Swiss political parties to oppose European integration, stunned the European political establishment by gaining 7.9 percent of the vote from the last election in 1995, leaping from last to first place in the popular vote. This increase marks the largest change in popular vote between consecutive elections since World War II. Immediately after the election, Christoph Blocher, the party's charismatic leader, called for a second seat in the seven-seat Federal Council-a small change with the potential to destroy the "magic formula" coalition that has governed the country for the last 40 years.

More importantly, the election returns seem to indicate a repudiation of the recent gradual movement toward further European integration toward which the last two governments have worked.

In an increasingly economically integrated Europe, most of the government has realized that Switzerland can no longer maintain the celebrated non-engagement by which it has achieved its great economic success. Switzerland's ability to provide an oasis of stability for investment in the midst of a tumultuous Europe has become less important as the waters of stability have flowed into the rest of Europe after the Cold War era. In recent politics, as analyst Kate Millar noted, "the government has never hidden its support for joining the EU and the UN."

The people, however, have not been so quick to see the virtues of integration. Because Switzerland is a direct democracy, all contentious legislation, including any pertaining to international cooperation, must be affirmed in a referendum before becoming law. The most momentous referendum was in 1992 when the people rejected the government's proposal that Switzerland join the European Economic Area (EEA), the economic forerunner to the EU. This vote precluded the chance of a vote on EU membership.

In the people's eyes, EU membership would be equivalent to relinquishing their strict neutrality and independence from the world arena, two cherished aspects of Swiss life. In particular, the Swiss are unwilling to sacrifice the direct democracy system by which they approve or reject government proposals, a system that has existed since the founding of the modern Swiss confederation in 1849. This fear of losing control over the passage of laws is well-founded: according to a Swiss pro-Europe Federal Council study in 1988, 31 percent of the 410 federal laws passed since 1973 would have fallen under the auspices of the EU. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Swiss Voice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.