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Direct democracy Appenzell Inner Rhodes holds annual assembly

Appenzell open air assembly

The "Landsgemeinde" is steeped in tradition.

(Keystone)

Voters in Appenzell Inner Rhodes canton on Sunday got to have their say in the annual “Landsgemeinde” or open-air assembly, the oldest form of direct democracy in Switzerland. 

Appenzell Inner Rhodes is one of only two remaining Swiss cantons – along with Glarus – that still holds a “Landsgemeinde”, a 600-year-old tradition. 

As always on the last Sunday in April, some 3,000 people gathered for the traditional parade and assembly. Guests of honour this year included Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis. 

The assembly decisions included election of a conservative right Swiss People’s Party member to the cantonal government for the first time, money for a new hospital, and a ban on fracking.   

And for the first time, sign language interpreters were hired so the discussions and votes could be followed by about a dozen deaf participants, according to the Swiss Federation for the Deaf.

swissinfo.ch with SRF/RTS/jc

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