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Voters oppose return to centuries-old voting

Voters in the Swiss canton of Appenzell Outer Rhodes have rejected an initiative to bring back a 600-year-old tradition of open-air popular voting.

This content was published on June 13, 2010 - 14:31

The initiative was rejected by 11,461 votes to 4,854 on Sunday. Turnout in the canton for the vote was 44.8 per cent.

The cantonal government and the parliament were opposed to initiative, which would have seen the reintroduction of assemblies where the public elect representatives and decide on cantonal affairs with a show of hands.

The system was in use in the canton for hundreds of years and was stopped in the canton in 1997. Opponents to its reintroduction said there no was place big enough to accommodate the canton’s 36,000 residents and the practice would have led to lower participation in votes.

Two cantons that still use the practice are Appenzell Inner Rhodes and Glarus, which have 8,000 and 25,000 citizens respectively.

Supporters of the initiative said the canton had lost its character and identity since the system had been stopped, and that bringing it back would have given more political power to the people.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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