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The Swiss Model – The Power of Democracy

Venelin Tsachevsky

The book analyses the historical evolution and modern features of Switzerland’s political system and neutrality of state, termed by the author as the Swiss model. The model is based on the principles of democracy, but at the same time possesses a specific texture. It is a result of the strongly developed direct democracy, especially the widespread application of referendums in decision-making and the consistent policy of neutrality. The author applies the historical-political and comparative method of study. The major conclusion is that the Swiss model stands for a unique combination of the representative and direct democracy which, together with the status of neutrality, has turned Switzerland into a symbol of a democratic, prosperous and peace-loving country.
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Chapter I: Historical evolution of the state and political system of Switzerland


Chapter I

Historical evolution of the state and political system of Switzerland

I.The Old Swiss Confederacy: Origins, territorial expansion, religious wars

Switzerland’s official status from the moment of its establishment is a confederacy, with the exception of a few years at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century when it was a republic1. In fact, Switzerland is not a confederation in the sense used in the modern legal interpretation of this type of state governance. The generally accepted definition of a confederation is that it is a union of sovereign states which retain a high degree of independence. They delegate to the central government limited powers in the sphere of defence, foreign policy, and foreign trade, they introduce a single currency, etc.

In the initial phase of its emergence as an independent country (1781–1789) the USA was also a confederation of 13 independent states. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the German Confederation was created in Europe, consisting of Austria, Prussia and some 30 smaller autonomous states and cities. After its dissolution in 1866, the North German Confederation was established in its place which included 22 countries and lasted only four years. Other examples from the more recent past are the United Arab Republic (1958–1961), formed on the basis of a union between Egypt and Syria, and the United Arab States in 1958–1961 between the United Arab Republic and North Yemen. In 2003...

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