The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70061   Message #1201806
Posted By: Wolfgang
07-Jun-04 - 06:27 AM
Thread Name: BS: Iraqi women and the Koran
Subject: RE: BS: Iraqi women and the Koran
Switserland/Liechtenstein:

- Women can now vote in all cantons.
- The government in Switserland is secular (same big partie' coalition sharing government, ministers and presidency since roughly the 1930s)
- Women have equal access to education

Switserland/Liechtenstein was an interesting sub-problem of direct democracy (and made me mostly an enemy of direct democracy). The first motions to give women the right to vote came as early as in most other European countries. But the last word in a direct democracy on these matters lies with those allowed to vote at that time, that is/was the men. That was a constitutional deadlock in these two coutries because no decision of the parliament could overrule the voters themselves.

If you think that sounds silly, consider that in all countries of the world some groups are not allowed to vote, in Germany for instance minors, mentally unfit and convicted criminals. So, if in a direct democracy, the rules who should be allowed to vote are to be changed (for example to allow voting from 18 years on instead of from 21), in the vote deciding a new group should be allowed to vote those profiting from this vote are not allowed to vote yet.

In Liechtenstein, for instance, they had a referendum for women voting rights about every four years since early in the 20th century. The count, the churches, the trade unions, all relevant political parties and everybody else of importance literally begged the voting body (of men) to allow women to vote. Time after time, the men declined until very recently.

Those Swiss cantons having the most direct rule of voting (all those allowed to vote coming once a year to one very big place and giving a show of hands to all relevant matters) were the last to allow women vote (and that only after heavy financial pressures from the central government).

Direct democrcy can be sometimes really conservative in the sense of resistance to necessary change.

Wolfgang