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Direct Democracy Voters raise their hands in Glarus


As they do every year – weather permitting – on the first Sunday of May, the people of canton Glarus assembled on the Zaunplatz to vote on political issues. The open-air assembly, first held in 1387, had a relatively low turnout this year.

The “Landesgemeinde” is the highest legislative body in Glarus, combining the features of a popular vote and a parliament. Voters have the right to support, change, reject, postpone or send back proposals. They vote on issues by raising their hands.

The assembly began with a solemn procession of authorities and guests of honour, including Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann. The 626th assembly included votes on 10 issues, including taxes and rental issues, and concluded in three hours.

The Glarner branch of the Swiss People’s Party was unsuccessful with its proposal to require that only Swiss German be spoken in the local kindergartens. Voters decided to keep the current mix of dialect and high German.

Following tradition, after the political business had been concluded, the voters of Glarus shared a meal of beef sausages served with mashed potatoes and dried plums.

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