The Canton of Glarus as a promoter of direct democracy

The Landsgemeinde Glarus as origin and impulse for democratic and social achievements

Sixth Scientific Conference of the Research Institute for Direct Democracy FIdD

The sixth scientific conference of the Research Institute for Direct Democracy (Forschungsinstituts direkte Demokratie will focus on research results that shed light on the Landsgemeinde in general and the Canton of Glarus in particular as a promoter of direct democracy. There has been little scientific research on the Landsgemeinde in Switzerland. The Landsgemeinde Glarus, on the other hand, has been a recurring theme in scientific questions in recent decades. With this conference we would like to show the state of research in this area and encourage further research projects.

The cooperative Landsgemeinde in Switzerland, and in particular the one in Glarus, raised the autonomous co-determination rights of the communes to the cantonal level. They were an important democratic model for the numerous rural popular movements in the 18th and 19th centuries and central to their path towards more direct democratic popular rights. In their respective historical context, the Landsgemeinde represented a unique form of comprehensive participation – especially in comparison with the rest of Europe – which also repeatedly improved the democratic principle in the sense of modern natural law.

Last year’s conferences dealt with the significance of Catholic conservatism, liberalism and early socialism for direct democracy in Switzerland, as well as with the theoretical foundations of natural law and the cooperative principle. This time the Research Institute will be looking in greater depth at individual cantons and their contribution to the emergence and development of direct democracy at the sixth conference and subsequent ones.


9.30: Dr phil. René Roca, Head of Research Institute for Direct Democracy
       Kaspar Rhyner, former mayor, former councillor, former member of the Council of States
         Marianne Lienhard, Governor of the Canton of Glarus

10:00: Dr phil. René Roca: “The Landsgemeinde as a foundation for direct democracy. The example of the Canton of Glarus”.

10.45: Break

11:15: Dr rer. soc. Hans-Peter Schaub: “How well does the Glarner Landsgemeinde really function? Findings on voting participation, opinion formation, majority estimation and others”.
12.00: Lukas Leuzinger: “Is the Landsgemeinde a model of democracy or a democratic fossil?

12.45: Lunch

2.30 pm: Dr rer. publ. Werner Wüthrich: “The Landsgemeinde as direct democratic basis par excellence for the regulatory framework in the economic Canton of Glarus”.
3.15 pm: Dr phil. Pirmin Meier: “Democratic Revolution in a Mountain Canton: Heinrich Hössli and the Glarus Landsgemeinde of 1836”.

Outlook and final discussion
4 pm: Speakers and audience (end: about 4.30 p.m.)


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