Events - 02.04.2015 - 00:00 

Future of the Swiss political model

From Wednesday, 15 April, Dr. Michael Hermann from the University of Zurich will deal with the question as to whether the Swiss political model has a future. The four public lectures are part of the public lecture programme of the University of St.Gallen.


8 April 2015. Dr. Michael Hermann from the University of Zurich is a guest speaker of the HSG's public lecture programme. In four lectures, the audience will learn about the peculiarities of the Swiss political model and interesting facts about changes in the political party landscape and in direct democracy. The challenges for the political leadership, as well as the risks of the model, will also be issues in the lecture series.


The Swiss political model has clever mechanisms: separation of power and limitation of power constitute the core elements of the Swiss political model. Competencies are distributed among municipalities, cantons and the Confederation. Two parliamentary chambers and a government of seven "part-time bosses" counteract abuse of power. The so-called "militia" system (an entirely civilian affair, namely the involvement of fellow citizens on a part-time or honorary basis) has prevented the emergence of a political class that is out of touch with the real world.

Symptoms of crisis

However, this political model is a structure in which many people are involved but no one really bears responsibility. According to Michael Hermann, the lack of responsibility is becoming a weak point. There are symptoms of a crisis: the militia system is being eroded. The political party landscape is among the most polarised in Europe. Finding compromises is becoming increasingly difficult, and the readiness to exploit people’s rights to the full is gathering pace.

The four lectures on the Swiss political model will take place in Room HSG 09-012 at the University of St.Gallen. They will start on Wednesdays at 8.15 p.m. Dates: 15, 22 and 29 April, 6 May 2015.

Picture: Fotolia/Massimo Beccegato

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