Trust grows in army but not in government

Swiss generally trust the army and believe they need one, but nearly half the population says it’s too big, a survey has found.

This content was published on May 28, 2010 - 13:48

The findings are are in an annual security report published on Friday by the Center for Security Studies and a military academy, both at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

It reveals the population’s attitudes toward Swiss security forces, the police, politicians and concepts like neutrality and a bilateral approach toward working with the European Union.

Trust in the army climbed 0.2 points to 6.1 points out of ten, with ten being complete trust. Forty-six per cent of respondents said the army is too big; 50 per cent want no changes in what it does. Switzerland’s militia-style army enjoys more support (50 per cent) compared with a standing professional army at 44 per cent.

A majority of respondents (56 per cent) remain sceptical about sending Swiss troops abroad for peacekeeping missions. The population appears divided over the use of weapons and maintaining solidarity with international operations, but it is overwhelmingly supportive of remaining neutral (93 per cent).

In general, the Swiss also believe in their institutions and gave the police 7.2 points. The courts and justice authorities scored 6.9 points. Respondents were lukewarm to the economy at 6.4 points and less trusting of the media (4.9 points) and political parties (5.1 points). Confidence in the government dropped 0.6 points and trust in parliament retreated 0.3 points. Both were given 5.9 points.

Half of respondents have doubts about establishing closer political ties with the EU while just 40 per cent want a closer relationship with Nato.

The survey was carried out between January 12 and February 11 with phone calls to 1,200 voters in all language regions of the country. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.

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