Direct Democracy and Minority Rights: Direct and Indirect Effects on Religious Minorities in Switzerland

Christmann, A.; Danaci, D.

Politics and Religion 5(1): 133-160


ISSN/ISBN: 1755-0483
Accession: 083154279

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Most of the research on the effects of direct democracy on minority rights is empirically limited to the direct effects of direct democracy. This article takes the issue a step further and examines both direct and indirect effects by investigating the rights of religious minorities in Switzerland. The analysis provides two main insights: all direct effects are negative and can be observed when the rights of out-groups like Islamic minorities are at stake. Second, indirect effects on the parliamentary process can be observed, too: parliaments make laws more restrictive toward Islamic minorities if they fear a popular vote. However, they develop strategies to enforce their liberal interests, as shown by the fact that extensions of the rights of religious minorities are passed in total revisions.