One very important mechanism which Switzerland uses to uphold democratic practice is petitioning. This article is published by Swiss Info argues that it petitioning in Switzerland is seemingly toothless yet it plays a fundamental role in the country’s democracy. Here is an excerpt:
Petitioning is Switzerland’s oldest democratic tradition. Several thousands of signatures are still submitted to the parliament as petitions every year. A closer look at the database reveals how petitioners and motives have shifted over time.
The right to petition goes back at least to when Egypt built its pyramids. Workers hired to trudge blocks weighing several tons petitioned for better working conditions. The practice survived through the centuries, as subjects petitioned their Emperor or King, asking for the redress of their grievances. The right was inscribed in the Swiss constitution in 1848, the year Switzerland was created as a federal state.
In contrast to the referendum and popular initiative (implemented in 1874 and 1891), petitions don’t trigger a nationwide vote, and don’t require a formal answer by the government.
Read the full article here.