Can you imagine to gather with thousands of citizens on a large square in the centre of your community and to pass laws by raising your hand?
In Glarus, one of the smallest of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, this has been the custom for centuries. Each first Sunday of May, people get together for a “people assembly”. In two days’ time, on 7 May 2017, one of the most ancient forms of direct democracy will happen in Glarus again.
Despite of the premodern tradition, we must not assume conservative votes. The 26.500 citizens have decided progressively many times. For example, when prohibiting night- and childlabour back in 1864, or when introducing the right to vote for women in 1971. In 2007, they lowered the voting age from 18 to 16, the only canton of Switzerland to have done so far.
Two weeks ago
, I visited the canton located in the narrow valleys between steep Alps. I asked people who live there about their special right to vote. You can read this story
produced in collaboration with the online platform #deardemocracy of the Swiss foreign broadcasting channel swissinfo.ch. The website informs about democracy issues in ten languages. Check it out here.