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Kahn, Saira


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The Times - United Kingdom | 04/09/2006

Swiss answer to UK democracy

Chronicler Saira Kahn examines a system where people are less alienated from the political system than in the UK. "Switzerland has one of the highest rates of political participation of any advanced democracy. It also scores impressively in international surveys that measure levels of voter satisfaction. Most observers acknowledge that this is a direct result of the country's system of direct democracy Swiss citizens have the right to call a referendum on any subject they want as long they can gather the required number of signatures. ... I am convinced that Britain should adopt a version of the Swiss system. It is the answer to the growing crisis of legitimacy faced by our political leaders. The world has changed. Britain is a sophisticated 21st-century society, but we still make do with a crude 19th-century system of limited and indirect democracy."

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