Swiss not as democratic as previously thought: Study

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Washington, Jan 28 (ANI): A new study has revealed that Switzerland is not the democracy par excellence as previously thought and managed to score mediocre 14th place in a new survey of world's 30 established democracies between 1995 and 2005.

The democracy barometer, a new instrument used to measure the quality of democracy and developed at Zurich University and the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), found that Denmark, Finland and Belgium had the world's best functioning democracies.

The authors said the three top-ranked countries best fulfil the functions of democracy, selected from the areas 'freedom, equality and control'.

The 11-year study also revealed that the democracies in Poland, South Africa and Costa Rica are the lowest in quality

The barometer uses nine basic functions of democracy.

Project co-leader Marc Buhlmann from Zurich University said Swiss democracy was only average because its 'system of checks and balances, transparency and participation are only very poorly implemented'.

On the other hand, Switzerland is a 'model country when it comes to satisfying the criteria of personal liberties, an active citizenship, competition and governmental capability', he added.

Moreover, political participation in both elections and referendums is very low.

A large part of the Swiss population does not engage in politics and those who do are primarily educated, well off, older and disproportionately male.

Switzerland is further away than most other democracies from the ideal of a democracy of political equals in which all citizens are politically active and their interests and values are ad-dressed equally in the political arena. Overall, it appears that while Switzerland has implemented the principle of freedom well, the principle of political equality is distinctly lacking," concluded Buhlmann. (ANI)

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