Shadows in the Swiss Paradise

Issue Date July 2016
Volume 27
Issue 3
Page Numbers 166-75
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Richard Rose claimed in 2000 that threats to Swiss consensus democracy had reached a peak. But in recent years there have been major new developments: shifts in the balance of power; party polarization; changes in public opinion, mainly involving hostility to foreigners; a new abrasive tone to politics and changes in elite behavior. Hence, the country has moved from a paradigmatic case of a consensus democracy to a more polarized, centrifugal and competitive system. To an extent these things have come about because of external pressures and the use made of them by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party. They have left the majority of the Swiss with a deep feeling of alienation and distrust, and the threat of becoming isolated internationally.

About the Authors

Clive H. Church

Clive H. Church is emeritus professor of European Studies at the University of Kent. He is the coauthor (with Randolph C. Head) of A Concise History of Switzerland (2013).

View all work by Clive H. Church

Adrian Vatter

Adrian Vatter is professor of Swiss politics at the University of Bern. He is the author of the textbook Das politische System der Schweiz (2014).

View all work by Adrian Vatter