Why is it that in Switzerland is where citizens trust government the most?

I do think it is the result of direct democracy.

In direct democracy the citizens control the executive branch and also the parliament.

In effect, the Swiss citizen is the boss; government and parliament has to listen to the people because if they do not the people will stop dead the laws and policies they propose, right then and there, no need to wait till next election.

The logical result of the power citizens have is that they trust government and parliament. They do because the citizens know government and parliament do not stray far from the will of the people.

In fact, direct democracy reduces the role of politicians to that of managers of the will of the people. In Switzerland they do not have or need “visionary” or “charismatic” leaders; what two irrational concepts!

The Swiss have reduced the role of political positions so much that even the role of President of the country rotates yearly among the four major political parties. The President is one of the seven people who run the Swiss federal government.

The President of Switzerland is first among equals. It is a collective consensus-based leadership.

It is also interesting to note that Swiss voters do not elect the President, or any of the seven Councilors. The Federal Council members are elected by the Swiss Parliament.

Many would think that to place such power in the hands of parliament would be a sure way for all sorts of horse trading and deals in backrooms, and ignoring the people.  Direct democracy keeps that in check.

No wonder more than 80% of the Swiss trust their government.

Compare that with the next best countries, Norway and Canada. They are in the 60% level.

I want to mention Denmark too, because I compared Denmark and Switzerland in a previous post. Trust in government in Denmark is about half of what it is in Switzerland.

Although Denmark is a fairly well run country and government seems to listen to the people, there is something there that undermines trust in government. Perhaps it is the sensation of being listened to but not having the power to control that the Swiss do have.

Also very interesting is that the trust of the Swiss in their governments has been increasing year after year. No other country has done that.

Because at the regional (canton) and local level, Swiss citizens have as much or more control than at the national level over government and politicians, it is reasonable to assume the level of trust is high also at the local and regional levels.

Because in Switzerland the will of the citizens controls governments and politicians, the Swiss have no need to march on the streets against or for this or that decision or policy. The Swiss get signatures and everybody decides in a local, regional or national referendum.

No need in Switzerland for politicians promising grandiose this and that. No point doing that because the people decide, not the politician.

If the United States had direct democracy the polarization between Republicans, Democrats, etc., would not exist because the power of referendums would have forced them to negotiate.

Perhaps proportional representation would also produce more major parties who would govern together by consensus.

The current riots in the would not be taking place because the politicians would have listened and forced to listen.

For example, the people would have imposed much better selection and training of the people who run police forces and police officers. No crazy policemen of any colour, like the nut who killed George Floyd would have made it to policeman or training would have “civilized” him.

Another effect of direct democracy is that the “superhuman” image of the President, even Senators, governors and other positions would be cut down to human size.

If you do not hear your politicians promote direct democracy it is easy to guess why. If you want orderly citizen power you have to help spread the idea and the superior facts of direct democracy.

Your comments are appreciated.

Victor López

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