Around half of all politicians elected to Switzerland's communal bodies are independents and fewer overall are driven by ideology, a new survey has found.This content was published on August 17, 2009 - 14:46
Researchers from the Institute of Sociology at Zurich University, the Swiss Graduate School for Public Administration in Lausanne and the Centre of Excellence for Public Management at Bern University also found that in municipalities with fewer than 1,000 people, political party presence in the executive was virtually non-existent.
It was the first time a comprehensive survey on the attitudes, activities and social backgrounds of the country's 15,500 local politicians had been conducted.
Some 96 per cent of people surveyed believed that municipal politics functioned just as well without political parties as they did with them. An overwhelming criticism of the parties was that they focused more on partisan conflicts than on the issues facing communities.
Independents, on the other hand, were found to be more often centrist-oriented and less interested in ideology.
Researchers say the results reflect a more flexible and mobile approach to politics on behalf of the Swiss. About half have lived less than 20 years in their present communities.
Local politicians were also found to be interested more in specific issues than in developing political careers.
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