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By Laurent Bernhard

In the 1st learn of comparative direct-democracy, Laurent Bernhard explores the character of direct-democratic campaigning in Switzerland. the writer examines 4 coverage parts: immigration, healthcare, welfare and financial liberalism focussing on interviews with crusade managers to supply a accomplished research of direct-democratic campaigning.

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The attention of the public can only be directed to a limited number of political aspects. The public is very sensitive with regard to new information. This provides the baseline for the attention management. Accordingly, the struggle for attention among the actors of the political elites constitutes the Theoretical Framework 25 key element of democratic politics in general (Burstein 1998: vi) and attention shifts (Baumgartner & Jones 2002) become a crucial mechanism in campaigning. Selectively emphasizing a given campaign message can thus be conceived of a strategy designed at altering people’s decision criteria rather than their preferences.

The attention of the public can only be directed to a limited number of political aspects. The public is very sensitive with regard to new information. This provides the baseline for the attention management. Accordingly, the struggle for attention among the actors of the political elites constitutes the Theoretical Framework 25 key element of democratic politics in general (Burstein 1998: vi) and attention shifts (Baumgartner & Jones 2002) become a crucial mechanism in campaigning. Selectively emphasizing a given campaign message can thus be conceived of a strategy designed at altering people’s decision criteria rather than their preferences.

In contrast to the practice in the USA, the government and the parliament discuss the text of the initiative before it is submitted to the popular vote and issue a voting recommendation. On the other hand, the political The Strategic Context 33 elites cannot call a vote on an ad hoc basis, a major characteristics that applies to the plebiscitary version of direct democracy. Votes take place if either constitutionally required or demanded by a minimal number of citizens. As will be elaborated in this section, Switzerland has very accessible direct-democratic institutions.

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