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 The website informs about democracy issues in ten languages. Check it out here. 

Best regards,
Cora Pfafferott

Europe offers direct democracy a second chance
On 11 April 2017, in a rare moment of positive international news for more democracy, the European Commission declared to revise the EU legislation concerning the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). The announcement came after arduous campaigns by Democracy International and other civil society groups to improve the ECI. It is a window of opportunity to introduce real direct democracy at EU level.
Photo by The ECI Campaign  
A revolution that slipped under the radar?
Ten years ago, voters in the mountainous Swiss canton of Glarus took the bold decision to lower the voting age from 18 to 16.​
Please, not another EU Declaration!
On 25 March 2017, yet another EU Declaration was adopted as EU leaders gathered in Rome to “celebrate” the 60th Anniversary of the Rome Treaty. But we should invest into more democracy at the transnational level
Media 'crucial' in creating transparency
Can the traditional media still fulfill their role as watchdog in a direct democracy when social media increasingly set the pace?
Voting on Switzerland's energy future
On 21 May 2017 the Swiss will decide on the government’s future energy strategy by means of direct democracy.

This Newsletter is published by Democracy International in cooperation with SWI#deardemocracy, people2power, Navigator to Direct Democracy and
Global Forum to Modern Direct Democracy.

Democracy International