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Voting on the Internet - more than just a "yes" or "no"

The Swiss finance minister, Kaspar Villiger

(Keystone)

Switzerland's finance minister, Kaspar Villiger, says the Internet provides unrivalled opportunities for government as well as business. But he says the electorate will still need to be well-informed before it can use the Internet to vote on issues.

"We don't want voting to become a game, where a person clicks on the menu and answers with a simple yes or no," he said. "The Internet gives us the chance to deliver more information with which a voter can build an opinion."

Villiger made his remarks in a speech to an international conference on E-government in Berne on Monday. He said Switzerland, with its four different cultures, was ideally placed to use information technology.

He said the worldwide link up through the Internet now made it possible for a country to remain regionally based but deal globally with other cultures. Switzerland, he said, wanted to take full advantage of the opportunities the Internet offered, and share its experiences with other countries.

He told the conference that the next big step for Switzerland would be to speed up access to the Internet via cable television. Although he maintained that getting hold of information still had to be made easier.

"The process of getting desired information on some aspect of the state can often be complicated," he said. "It is often the case that you need to have detailed information about the structure of both the state and the Internet to be able to find exactly what you are looking for," he added.

Villiger said Switzerland was working on constructing a new central portal for the Internet, to make access to administrative information simpler for the end user.

swissinfo with agencies




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