29 November from 9.30 to 11.30 - Room 1 - Palais de l'Europe

Interpretation: FR/EN/RU

 

Sponsored by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

 

Today Direct Democracy is part of the Swiss identity  and contributes to the integration and the well-being of the very heterogeneous Swiss society. It might be a source of inspiration to others how to overcome the crises of democracy although there are shortcomings it its implementation.

The Swiss experience

Between 1848 and 1868 the Swiss regional "Democratic people's movements" were advocating popular rights leading to the creation of new democratic instruments that transformed the Swiss polity into a direct democracy: cantonal and federal Governments and Parliaments had to share the political power with the citizens. Citizens could not only elect their representatives but could also decide in lawmaking and constitutional reforms (Referenda and Popular Initiatives). Today Direct Democracy is part of the Swiss identity and contributes to the integration and the well-being of the very heterogenous Swiss society. It might be a source of inspiration to others how to overcome the crises of democracy although there are shortcomings in the Swiss use of direct democracy (exclusion of too many non-citizens; insufficient constitutional interface between democracy and human rights; lack of adequate rules and limits concerning the financial transparency). Especially interesting are also the e-voting experiments under way in order to enable especially the Swiss far abroad to participate in the Swiss direct democracy.

Website: http://www.ge.ch/evoting/english/welcome.asp

Presenters

Mr Andreas GROSS, National Councilor, Switzerland, President of the Council for Democratic Elections and Chair of the Socialist Group to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Andreas Gross is a Political Scientist and since more than 20 years lecturer at many European Universities on "Direct Democracy in a global comparison". He is a Swiss MP since 1991 and leader of the Socialdemocrats in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Gross authored four PACE- reports of the state and crises of democracy in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012 and is a specialist of the intemporal progress and regress of  European democracies. Andreas Gross was responsible for some key Swiss popular initiatives (Switzerland without an Army, UN-membership) and is working on a theory of Direct Democracy.


Mr Uwe SERDÜLT, Switzerland, Vice-Director of the Centre for Research on Direct Democracy

Uwe Serdült is vice-director of the Centre for Research on Direct  Democracy (www.c2d.ch). He holds a doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Zurich and has worked as a senior researcher and lecturer at the ETH Zurich, and Universities of Zurich and Geneva, respectively. Research stays lead him to Japan (Waseda and Ritsumeikan University), the USA (University of Pittsburgh) and Poland (PU Krakow). In the field of e-democracy he is particulary interested on internet voting and the long term effects of ICTs on political systems.


Discussants

Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Mr Gagik HARUTYUNYAN, President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia

Gagik Harutyunyan is the president of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia since 1996. He is a member of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) of the Council of Europe and a member of the Bureau of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice. In 1991, Gagik Harutyunyan was elected Vice-President of the Republic of Armenia and carried out the duties of the Prime-Minister from 1991 to 1992. He is the author of more than 200 publications on Regional Development, State Governance, Democratization of Society, Constitutional Law and Constitutional Justice.

 @_gagik


Mr Bruno KAUFMANN, Sweden, Member of Local Government, President of the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe

Bruno Kaufmann is a trained political scientist, conflict researcher and journalist and has worked with democracy, conflict and development issues since the mid-1980s. He is member of a local government (executive branch) in Sweden, where he also heads the Election Commission and is president of the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe in Marburg, Germany, and Co-President of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy with headquarters in Phoenix, USA. Bruno Kaufmann is a candidate for the European Parliament elections in May 2014.

 @kaufmannbruno


SAI, USA, Founder of Make Your Laws

Sai (http://s.ai) is the founder of Make Your Laws (http://makeyourlaws.org), a project to create practical liquid democracy and democratized campaign finance worldwide by bootstrapping through existing legal powers, starting at the US state and federal level. His other interests include computer security, social neuroscience of empathy, and non-linear writing systems.

 @saizai


Rapporteur to the plenary session

Ms Nvard LORYAN, Armenia, Youth Representative, Assistant to "Armenia Against Corruption" Project Manager  

Nvard Loryan works at Armenian Young Lawyers Association as an Assistant to the President of the organization and to the Project Manager of a large scale anti-corruption project "Armenia Against Corruption". She holds an MA degree in International Relations and is interested in international affairs, law and human development. She participated in the CEU Summer School on Human Development, her interests are focused on development issues and MDGs. Her case study on "Migration and Human Development: How Migration affects Development of Armenia. Positive and negative Effects" will soon be published by CEU in partnership with UNDP. She is an International Promoter of Rome Model UN since 2013.

Moderator

Mr Alexadre GUESSEL, Director of Political Advice, Council of Europe

cartoonist

Mr Laurent SALLES

Your opinion

Does/Do the following initiative(s) increase significantly citizens' influence in the policy-making process and/or make democratic institutions more transparent, responsive and accountable? 

For the Swiss experience:
% Voti
74% 107
a. Yes
26% 37
b. No

Voti Totali: 144

La votazione è disabilitata perché il sondaggio è scaduto il 29/11/13 12.00.