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How did Switzerland get proportional representation?

In the early 1890s, a handful of Swiss cantons (states) held the first public elections in Europe to truly use proportional representation (PR). The success of these early votes meant that over the next few...

Posted 06 Jan 2023

Switzerland PR cartoon

Does proportional representation lead to higher turnout?

A healthy democracy requires healthy levels of democratic participation – the most crucial element of which is turnout at general elections. But Britain has one of the lowest turnout rates in the west – a...

Posted 10 Feb 2022

More people will bother voting if they feel that their vote won't be wasted

Lessons from referendums

While we’re nowhere near Switzerland or California in constantly using referendums, the UK is becoming accustomed to big constitutional votes. In 2011, the ballot on switching to the Alternative Vote was only the second UK-wide...

Posted 01 Mar 2016

What is the plural of referendum? Political disengagement…

Switzerland. A land of chocolate, neutrality and a surprisingly well-armed population. Switzerland is also home to a unique democratic system, the closest to direct democracy in the world. Citizens have the ability to force two types...

Posted 15 Oct 2015