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Swiss expert: political system must fit country’s needs

Swiss expert: political system must fit country’s needs

The UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (CIDS) hosted the second installment of “Federalism: Facts, Myths, Opportunities, and Challenges,” a series of round table discussions on federalism with Dr. Nicole Töpperwien at the Board of Regents Room in Quezon Hall, UP Diliman last August 10, 2016.

Dr. Töpperwien, co-founder of Swiss thinktank Ximpulse, shed light on the experience of federal Switzerland. She provided a historical background of Switzerland’s federalist system, which was seen as a way to end over-centralization. She also talked about the challenges they faced, such as demarcation due to pre-existing political structures and issues of marginalization.

What draws people to consider federalism, according to Töpperwien, is how it can cater to different visions and motivations. But she emphasized the importance of devising a system that is appropriate to the nation’s needs, and she is convinced that every country can do so. With recent experiences in mind, “It’s much better if you work together,” said Töpperwien.

Her presentation also included insights from her discussions on federalism in Myanmar and Nepal; both countries are considering federalization.

In the open forum that followed, participants from government, academe, and civil society organizations shared ideas on and inquired about power distribution at different levels, decentralization, fiscal arrangements, financial equalization, symmetries and asymmetries, and judicial institutions, among others.

The round table discussions aims to take a closer look on different models of federalist systems to assist in making sound and prudent decisions with regard to Philippine governance. To read about the first discussion, click here.