The Role and Place of the Opposition in the Political System of Switzerland

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The article considers the role and the way of functioning of the opposition in the political system of the Swiss Confederation.It is shown that the absence of an opposition in the political life of the country in the traditional sense is explained by the agreement or concordance between the main political forces, drawn up officially in the form of the so-called “magic formula”. A federal government functioning according to this principle in combination with a well-developed mechanism of direct, or more precisely, semi-direct referendum democracy: on the one hand, it allows the effective implementation of the constitutional right of citizens to participate in the political life of the country, and on the other hand, it allows to avoid permanent parliamentary and governmental crises. Particular attention is paid to the Swiss People’s Party, a powerful political force that has consistently achieved high results in parliamentary elections over the past ten years and has every right to consider itself as opposition party. In this connection, the author raises the question of the possibility of using the political system existing today in Switzerland, and, even more so, the way the opposition functions, as a model for other countries? The publication reveals in detail how the institution of direct democracy works in practice. It is emphasized that the people’s initiative and the referendum give the citizen the opportunity to constantly influence the constitutional process in the state and bring projects developed by the government to the people’s court. Frequent appeals to voters in this way forces society to constantly worry about topical political issues. At the same time, large authoritative parties use this right less often than small social organizations or extra-parliamentary opposition groups. In addition, the Swiss manage in this way to constantly keep the political course of the government under control, and the Federal Council, according to the country’s constitution, must constantly consult with the people, who express their opinion on political proposals by dropping ballots into the voting baskets. At the same time, it is emphasized that the main challenge to Swiss federalism lies not in the multiculturalism of the nation, which did not develop as a result of the immigration of citizens, as, for example, in the USA, Canada or Australia, but on the contrary, has its roots in the age-old history of the communities that originally lived in Switzerland.  Switzerland’s relations with the European Union during the last twenty years are briefly described. Characterizing Ukrainian-Swiss relations, the author emphasizes the importance that Switzerland has for our country, particularly in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine. The advantages and disadvantages of direct referendum democracy are analyzed. Certain conclusions are drawn regarding the possibility of using Swiss experience in the political life of other countries.


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How to Cite
Rudych, S. (2022) “The Role and Place of the Opposition in the Political System of Switzerland”, Problems of World History, (19), pp. 82–97. doi: 10.46869/10.46869/2707-6776-2022-19-5.
Author Biography

S. Rudych

Rudych Serhiy – Candidate of Technical Sciences, Senior Research Fellow of the State Institution “Institute of World History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine”


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