Gaddafi’s Demise Is Not The Only Reason for The Military Coup in Mali

A guest post by Jonathan van Eerd, a PhD candidate at the University of Zurich. He recently completed field work in Mali’s capital city, Bamako, and is currently a visiting scholar at Cornell University.


Mali was considered to be one of the few functioning democracies in West Africa. It never experienced a military coup since the introduction of multiparty democracy in 1992. Considering that, last Wednesday’s coup comes as a surprise.

The group under the lead of so far unknown Capt. Amadou Sonago claims that they have overthrown the democratically elected government of Amadou Toumani Touré (short: ATT) because of its “incompetence” in handling the Tuareg Rebellion in Mali’s North.

The Malian army was indeed poorly prepared for its newest task of defending the nation’s unity. The soldiers are badly trained, have outdated weaponry and not enough supply. There were failures in informing soldier’s families about fatalities in combat.

Mali is one of West Africa’s few fairly working democracies. Why was there no national or international political force that pleaded for the strengthening of the Malian forces in the combat against the rebellion?

Being one of the least developed countries in the world, the internationally supported downfall of the Gaddafi’s regime in Libya caught Mali on the wrong foot. Many of Gaddafi’s former Tuareg-soldiers became jobless and went back to the Sahel region, of which Mali’s North is a part. They have not been disarmed by anyone. And in January of this year they started a new Tuareg-rebellion in Mali’s North. Its goal is the independence of Mali’s northern regions.

Mali has experienced recurring Tuareg-rebellions since the sixties. However, the intensity of this new rebellion was unprecedented. Along with that appeared a new generation of well-armed Tuareg-fighters, which came back from Libya. Together with some factions of older Tuareg-rebellions, they formed the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA).

The Malian government and its army were taken by surprise. They were ill-prepared because the peace treaty they have signed after the last Tuareg-rebellion in 2008 with the old generation of Tuareg-rebells and the generous “development aid” of the Malian government for the Tuareg to keep them at ease gave the government a misleading feeling of security. Additionally, the foreign, most notably French, diplomatic and military aid for Mali was rather weak or even counterproductive: The French engaged in direct talks with the MNLA, because they hoped to gain their help in France’s battle against the terror-organization Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb
(AQMI), which kidnapped and murdered French and other Western tourists and expats in the region. This boosted the MNLA’s self-confidence and led to diplomatic tension between France and its former colony.

But these are not the only causes of the coup. One important cause lies in the nature of ATT’s governing style and Mali’s political culture itself. ATT, who was without any partisan affiliation, preferred to govern with a consensual-styled all-party cabinet. Since his re-election in 2007 he included every important party – with one exception – in one way or another in his government: Out of 160 parliamentarians, only 4 of a small socialist party were in the opposition before the coup.

In such an ethnically heterogeneous country like Mali the inclusion of every important power-base has many advantages. The fact that Mali experienced relative stability or no ethnic conflicts in contrast to its neighbors Ivory Coast, Niger or other West African countries in the last 20 years proves this point.

However, Mali’s financially and organizationally weak political parties are not only in ATT’s all-party government due to political sanity, but also for their very political survival: In most African democracies and semi-democracies, access to state resources is crucial to win important client’s favor with gifts and other privileges, in order to make sure that they give support in elections. Consequently, no Malian political party was willing to occasionally play the indispensable part of the opposition, meaning that no important party pointed out to the deficiencies and failures of the ATT government in its handling of the newest Tuareg-rebellion. The parties did not want to risk their participation in the government and the consequential loss of access to state resources.

Switzerland is the world’s most famous example of a functioning consensus democracy. However, in contrast to Mali and most other democracies in the world, Switzerland’s democracy features extensive direct-democratic rights for Swiss citizens. This ensures that the citizens itself occasionally play the missing part of the opposition to a consensus government.

As no party wanted to harm its share in the Malian government, they criticized ATT only off the record for his lack of foresight on the fallout of the conflict in Libya, his hesitant diplomatic and military reaction, as well as his almost non-existent information policy regarding the rebellion in the North.

On the contrary, all political parties awaited ATT’s orderly replacement in April’s presidential elections. The unexpressed consensus was to first await the new president and only after that to strive for a solution of the conflict in the North. Until then, the parties concentrated on their preparations for the elections. Yet even while doing that, they did not consider to raise the issue of the Tuareg-rebellion as a topic for their individual election campaigns; again for the sake of the all-party consensus.

As a result, one part of the Malian army decided to take matters, or respectively, the part of the opposition in their own hands. In a drastic and non-democratic manner they pointed out the deficiencies and grievances of their army.

Prediction Markets and the Ballot of March 11: A First Evaluation

A guest post by Oliver Strijbis, Sveinung Arnesen, Kjetil Thuen, and Lucas Rachow. Oliver Strijbis is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hamburg, Sveinung Arnesen is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bergen. Together with Kjetil Thuen and Lucas Rachow they are founders of


Shortly before the voters went to the polls on March 11 we published on this blog the predictions taken from our prediction market. In short, the accuracy of our forecasts were mixed. Whether the predictions were accurate or not largely depended on the proposal. But let’s look at it in detail.

The good news is that the predictions for the ballot on the “Buchpreisbindung” and the “Bauspar-Initiative” were strikes. The prediction from March 7 (the latest prediction we published) was that the share of Yes-votes for the Buchpreisbindung would be 45.5% while it was 43.9% (1.6% deviation). The share of Yes-votes for the Bauspar-Initiative was expected to be 46.7% while it was 44.2% (2.5%).

Our predictions for the other proposals were less accurate. For the ballot on the “Zweitwohnungen” we predicted 45.5% of Yes-votes – deviating 5.1% from the final result of 50.6%. Hence, we did not predict the right winner in this instance. Our predictions for the referendum on the law on “Geldspiele” and the “6 Wochen Ferien für alle” initiative have foreseen the winner but were rather far off from the final results: while our prediction was 70.5% of “Yes” for the Geldspiele the result was 87.1%, and while we foresaw the share of Yes-votes for “6 Wochen Ferien für alle” to be 39.9% it was only 33.5%.

Why have our predictions concerning some ballots been far more accurate than others? It is generally argued that the accuracy of the predictions depend on what kind of relevant information the traders possess about the topic, and to which degree the traders are motivated and able to express their beliefs in the prediction market framework (e.g. Sunstein 2006). Based on these theoretical assumptions we would like to discuss a couple of points that might explain variance in the accuracy of the predictions of the March 11 ballots.

The proposals. Predictions are easier if there is abundant information on a proposal and if the campaign follows a well-known pattern. The fact that not less than five proposals were voted on at the same day had the effect that media coverage on some of the proposals was scarce. Furthermore, the initiative on the “Zweitwohnungen” and to some degree also the referendum on the law on “Geldspiele” did not produce constellations of political alliances which are typical for direct democratic decisions in Switzerland. Hence, experience helped only partially for the formation of well-informed expectations. However, in the case of the initiative on “6 Wochen Ferien für alle” the pattern followed a clear left-right division that has been experienced in many cases in the past. This means that also features concerning the topic and the number of the proposals can only partly explain the variance in the accuracy of our predictions.

The participants. Prediction markets work on the basis of the relevant information accumulated by the participants. We have tried to guarantee that our market profits from well-informed participants by recruiting mainly among social scientists in general and political scientists in particular. However, for many of them the mechanisms of a prediction market might be new. Furthermore, some of them might participate more out of goodwill than intrinsic motivation.

While some of our predictions have pointed to the potential of prediction markets for forecasting the results of direct democratic decisions in Switzerland, there remains room for improvement. Although, due to the often very short and spiritless campaigns, predictions on Swiss direct democratic decisions might always be fraught with risk, we think that this improvement is possible. Since the participants are undergoing a learning process and since in the future participants can be substituted we are confident that we can achieve more accurate predictions in a not too distant future. Even more, competent traders will also over time accumulate wealth in the market and thus become more powerful than those making wrong trades. In other words, we expect more influence to be transferred to those with good judgment, and less to those with bad judgment. Much will now depend on our ability to gain the most informed and motivated participants.

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Predictions for the Ballots on March 11

A guest post by Oliver Strijbis, Sveinung Arnesen, Kjetil Thuen, and Lucas Rachow. Oliver Strijbis is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hamburg, Sveinung Arnesen is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bergen. Together with Kjetil Thuen and Lucas Rachow they are founders of


Who thinks in predictions of election and referenda outcomes thinks in surveys. However, an alternative method for forecasting has made its way into political science the last years. So called “prediction markets” are designed to aggregate information and produce predictions about future events. Prediction markets are markets for contracts that yield payments based on the outcome of an uncertain future event, such as an election or a referendum. A considerable bulk of literature has shown that prediction markets can easily compete with surveys in forecasting election outcomes. This has also been shown for the Swiss parliamentary elections in 2011 where the forecasts of the prediction markets were more accurate than those of the surveys (Tagesanzeiger online, 27th october 2011).

In an attempt to apply prediction markets in the context of Switzerland’s direct democracy we set up prediction markets for the ballots of March 11. We arrive at forecasts by setting up a market for each of the proposals. This means that on each of five markets the outcome of one proposal is treated as an asset. At voting day an asset pays the share of votes the proposal has received. For instance if the proposal “Schluss mit uferlosem Bau von Zweitwohnungen!” gets 45% of the votes, the final price of an asset of this proposal pays 45 units. Hence, a participant on the prediction market has an incentive to buy assets if the price is below 45 units and an incentive to sell if it is above. Consequently, rational players will buy assets if the current price is below the expected outcome and sell if it is above.

With the assistance of colleagues from various Swiss universities (special thanks to Laurent Bernhard) we were able to recruit 124 individuals of which 87 turned out to be active participants. In an attempt to recruit only the most talented players we were primarily approaching political scientists (students and professionals) and individuals trained in a related field. From the 87 participants 27% were political scientists, 21% economists, and 22% were trained social scientists from other disciplines. The participants are compensated with a small salary depending on their performance.

While theory tells us that our proceeding should yield accurate forecasts, only empirics can demonstrate it. So what do the prediction markets tell us for the ballots on March 11? Here are our predictions from March 3 (see Figure): 46.7% yes for the “Bauspar-Initiative”, 45.5% yes for the law on the “Buchpreisbindung”, 39.9% yes for the initiative “6 Wochen Ferien für alle!”, 70.5% yes for law on the “Neuregelung der Geldspiele”, and 45.5% yes for the initiative “Schluss mit uferlosem Bau von Zweitwohnungen!”. Hence, for all three proposals where a close race is expected we anticipate a narrow defeat.

Ethno-Nationalist Conflict in Iran?

A guest post by Nils-Christian Bormann.


On a recent Daily Show episode, former FBI special agent Ali Soufan discussed Iranian internal politics with regard to its ethno-nationalist minorities and their linkages in the wider Middle Eastern & Caucasian region. Manuel Vogt, Lars-Erik Cederman and I have discussed the challenge of ethno-nationalism in the context of the Arab Spring in a new NCCR working paper. Our analysis of ethnic group conflict risk takes into consideration factors such as government inclusion of ethnic elites, a recent downgrade in power status, ethnic group size, a prior history of conflict, GDP and population size. Our model predicts that most groups in Iran have a conflict probability that is above the sample median (the sample average of all conflict probabilities is heavily influenced by actual conflicts – our model predicts an almost 100% Probability of insurgency for the Kurds within the decade from 2010-2019 – and Kurdish rebels were actually fighting the Iranian government in 2010). Interestingly enough, the Azeris – the Turkic group that Soufan is talking about the most have a much smaller conflict probability than most of Iran’s minorities (about a third). This is due to fact that in our data set Azerian elites are coded as having access to executive power in Iran and the Azeris have never experienced a civil war with the Iranian government. However, if Azeri elites were denied to the Iranian government in, for example, 2014 their 10-year cumulative probability of civil war onset would rise to 34% – a rather high probability in civil war studies. The probabilities underline that it is not ethno-nationalism per se that increase the likelihood of civil war but its meaning in the political system. Put differently, when a government can accommodate ethnic elites by offering them de facto access to executive positions, civil war risk is greatly reduced.

Soufan, however, refers explicitly to regional dynamics and ethno-national linkages of Turkic groups in the Middle East, the Caucusus and all the way to China. I therefore estimated a new model with a different sample (including the Middle East and the Caucasus but no Northern African countries) and three new dummy variables that indicate whether an ethnic group has any kin group in a neighboring country that has access to governmental power, that is excluded from executive power, or that is currently fighting a war (these data were just collected by Seraina Ruegger at ETH Zurich but are not yet published). The model (figure below) again underlines the importance of ethnic politics and its dynamic changes in explaining civil war onset. Moreover, having a kin group that is excluded from government power in the region is likely to increase conflict risk while having a kin group that is included does not (at least not significantly). Having a kin group that is involved in conflict raises the risk of civil war as well. The cases doing most of the work here will be the Kurds in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. Indeed, if the Kurds are dropped from the sample, the excluded kin and conflict parameters turn out to be insignificant and the included kin variable raises the risk of conflict as Soufan suggested they would for Turkish kin groups.

However, neither model 1 nor 2 predict a higher risk of civil war in Iran. Arabs and Baloch along with the Kurds are still quite likely to be involved in a civil war in the next decade but Azeris and other Iranian minorities actually have a lower risk of conflict onset in these models. Model 2 does not change the dynamics in Iran very much. Indeed, the Turkish Kin connection hardly affects the conflict risk for Azeris in Iran. Even in the counterfactual case of a domestic war in which one of the Turkish kin groups of the Azeri were involved, conflict risk would not rise to levels that the Iranian leadership would have to worry about much according to the model.

All of these results have to be taken with a grain of salt. The current coding of the kin connection is solely based on ethnic affinity (shared language or religious adherence would result in a kin link) and does not capture Turkey’s geo-strategic interests. Moreover, it is also not geared towards prediction. However, it is suggestive of the fact that domestic ethnic power relations seem to play a bigger role than international linkages. Very different dynamics could open up if Iran’s army was involved in a costly conflict with Israel and opportunities for rebellion would open up. However, as long as Iranian Azeri elites have de facto executive access, a domestic uprising seems unlikely.

Who Wants to Bail Out Other Countries and Why?

In the face of growing potential for sovereign defaults, Euro-zone countries have decided to contribute massive sums to bail out the struggling EU economies. The structure of the bailouts has provoked strong domestic reactions in both donor and potential recipient countries. Yet, despite the prominent role of public opinion in the debate over national contributions to funds to bail out other countries, we know very little about the factors that underlie voters’ attitudes toward financial rescue packages.

Who wants to send this to indebted EU countries? (Source: Deutsche Bundesbank)

To learn about why individuals support or oppose bailout packages for indebted EU countries, Jens Hainmueller (MIT), Yotam Margalit (Columbia University), and I have just fielded a large-scale online survey with several embedded experiments in which we explore which factors affect individuals’ willingness to support financial bailout programs.[1] We focus on public opinion in Germany, the country shouldering the largest share, about €200 billion, of the EU’s bailout program. Our study will explore factors like the rescue package’s size, the conditions imposed on the recipient country, as well as different types of justifications that relate to economic, solidarity, and altruistic motivations. We will complete the fieldwork within the coming weeks and will post first results in this blog soon afterwards, so stay tuned…

[1] We gratefully acknowledge financial support by ETH Zurich’s Cooper Fund.

Swiss national elections: strategic alliances more important than campaigning?

By Claudia Alpiger* and Daniel Bochsler

List apparentments have heavily affected the distribution of seats in the national assembly, also in the recent national elections of Switzerland. Our analysis, published today in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, shows that the Green Liberal Party has doubled its mandates only due to its strategy of engaging in electoral alliances with different parties in different cantons.
Apparentments are a very rarely seen solution in proportional electoral systems. They are used in 20 out of 26 Swiss cantons, where elections to the national assembly are held by a proportional electoral system, relying on the D’Hondt formula. Under this formula (division allocation rule with rounding down), large parties are strongly favoured over small parties. However, political parties are allowed to link several electoral lists, and the initial seat allocation treats such alliances – called apparentments – jointly as a single unit, even if each party runs with its own list. Thereafter, mandates won by such an alliance are allocated to each of the electoral lists. Such apparentments especially help coalitions of small parties not to loose seats towards large parties (see Bochsler, 2010, Electoral Studies).

For the most recent Swiss parliamentary elections of 23 October, we have simulated the party benefits and losses from apparentment strategies. There are three main winners.
As in previous years, the Social Democratic Party (SPS) and the Green Party (GPS) had a consequential apparentment strategy in almost each canton (except for two cantons, Aargau and Ticino). This helped the SPS – the biggest party in this apparentment – to gain six seats, and the Green Party won four seats. The Green Liberals joined the left-wing-green alliance only in one canton, Graubünden, but won a seat there, only thanks to this apparentment.
Equally, the Christian Democratic Party (CVP) benefitted with six seats from apparentments. The party was lucky to find several new small centre-right parties, being very compatible with the CVP for joining apparentments.
The third party which equally benefitted from apparentments were the new Green Liberals (6 seats won). They engaged in flexible alliances, in many cantons with the CVP and the BDP, but in others also with various small parties, spanning the whole political spectrum from the left (GPS) to the far right (with the Christian-conservative EDU), and in one canton (Graubünden) allied to the SPS. The benefit of six gains due to list apparentments is quite remarkable, given the total of only 12 mandates that the party won in the national elections. Given these numbers, the right alliance strategy probably paid out much more than the electoral campaign.
The loser of the apparentments is the Swiss People’s Party (SVP). Due to their increasing political isolation in the Swiss party landscape, they engaged in apparentments almost only with the small Christian-conservative EDU in several cantons, the anti-immigration party Lega dei Ticinesi in the canton of Ticino, and in one case (Vaud) with the Liberals (FDP). These apparentments did not help them to win any seat. Instead, in most cases where other parties won mandates through apparentments, this was paid by the SVP. No wonder a MP of the SVP has now started a proposal to abolish the apparentment system in Swiss national elections.

* Claudia Alpiger works in the Democracy Barometer group at the Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau

Von Torten, Parlamentarier-Ratings, und anderen Ungeniessbarkeiten: Eine Nachlese zu den Wahlen 2011

A guest post by Simon Hug and Reto Wüest (University of Geneva). A simplified version has been published today in Die Weltwoche.


Im lauen Wahlkampf zu den National- und Ständeratswahlen 2011 können neben der Entführung und Einfärbung Zottels wohl nur kulinarische Erlebnisse und Parlamentarier-Ratings als Höhepunkte betrachtet werden. Dass letztere auf recht wackeligen Füssen stehen, scheint sowohl der Bundeskanzlei als auch den Journalisten führender Schweizer Tageszeitungen entgangen zu sein.

Die in der Wahlbroschüre abgebildete Torte verortete alle Nationalrätinnen und Nationalräte basierend auf ihrem Abstimmungsverhalten und eingefärbt nach Parteizugehörigkeit auf einer schön glasierten Oberfläche. Stellen wir uns dazu kurz ein aus Marzipan hergestelltes Hochzeitspärchen vor, das sich in der politischen Mitte in Langenthal kennengelernt hat. Der Tradition gemäss werden unsere Marzipanfigürchen in der Mitte der Torte platziert . Nach durchzechter Hochzeitsnacht wacht das Pärchen erschreckt auf: Es befindet sich gemäss Tortendarstellung in der Wahlbroschüre fast ganz allein auf weiter Flur (lies Glasur). Die Ehefrau, eine erfahrene Verkosterin für den Gault-Millau-Führer, zeigt sich erstaunt, dass die kulinarischen Experten der Bundeskanzlei diesen Umstand nicht erfasst haben und keinen Gugelhopf (mit leerer Mitte) als Darstellungsform gewählt haben – dass die fehlende Mitte ein methodologisches Artefakt ist, hätte ein normal konstituierter Redaktionsverantwortlicher der Wahlbroschüre bei unabhängigen Experten in Erfahrung bringen können.

Im fast verlassenen Zentrum der Torte erinnert sich die frisch Vermählte, eine avide Leserin der Schweizer Qualitätspresse, an Zeitungsberichte (NZZ und Le Temps vom 7.10.2011), in welchen aufgezeigt wurde, dass im letzten Jahr der zu Ende gehenden Legislaturperiode die Polarisierung zwischen den Parteien abgenommen hat.

Voller Hoffnung stürzen sich die beiden ins Zeitungsarchiv und lesen die letzten Berichte über die sogenannten “Parlamentarier-Ratings” (NZZ vom 27.11. 2008, 21.11.2009, und 26.11.2010). Der Ehegatte, seit jeher kritischer Natur, stellt überrascht fest, dass in jedem der Parlamentarier-Ratings (mit der kuriosen Ausnahme des letzten Ratings von 2011, wo kein Parlamentarier am äussersten linken Pol (-10) verortet ist) je mindestens ein Parlamentarier auf der äussersten linken bzw. rechten Position zu finden ist. Seine frischgebackene bessere Hälfte klärt ihn auf: das ist die Eigenschaft eines Ratings. Alle Parlamentarier werden im Bezug auf die Ratskollegen mit den extremsten Positionen verortet. Der Ehemann zeigt sich überrascht: wie können denn die Positionen von einem Rating zum anderen über die Zeit verglichen werden, wenn automatisch immer mindestens ein Parlamentarier ganz links respektive ganz rechts zu stehen kommt, unabhängig davon über was im Rat abgestimmt wurde? Die belesene Gattin hat die Antwort: bei den Ratings handelt es sich jeweils um die wohlbekannte Links-Rechts-Achse. Die Dokumentation ist diesbezüglich eindeutig: “Die Bezeichnung der Pole als “links” und “rechts” erfolgt ex-post. Dies ist möglich, weil die von der [Methode] wiedergegebene Polarität mit der alltäglichen Bedeutung von links und rechts übereinstimmt.” Daher können die Positionen sehr wohl über die Zeit miteinander verglichen werden. Der frisch Vermählte, Geograph von Beruf, ist erstaunt: wäre das nicht das gleiche, wie wenn wir Geographen jedes Mal, wenn sich der nördlichste Eskimo vom Nordpol zum Fischen Richtung Süden begibt, die Länge der Erdachse neu bestimmen würden? Genau, belehrt ihn seine Angetraute, und Ihr solltet, wenn Ihr seriöse Forscher wäret, in Abhängigkeit der Position dieses Eskimos den Breitengrad, auf welchem sich das Bundeshaus mitsamt der ganzen Parlamentarierschar befindet, neu bestimmen. Der neu Verheiratete hat leichtes Spiel, seine bessere Hälfte vom Unsinn dieser Berechnungen zu überzeugen. Die Parlamentarier-Ratings sowie der Befund zur reduzierten Polarisierung im Parlament (NZZ und Le Temps vom 7.10.2011) landen – der Hochzeitsliste sei Dank – im brandneuen Shredder.

Nachdem die Konsultation der Zeitungsarchive keine Hilfe lieferte, versuchen sich die Turteltauben neu auf der Torte zu orientieren. Der Tradition der ungeteilten Ehestandesstimme folgend möchten sie die gleiche, ihnen möglichst nahestehende Partei wählen. Der Geograph schlägt vor, sich Richtung Norden hin zum “liberalen” Pol zu bewegen. Dabei stossen die beiden Marzipanfigürchen schnell auf ein paar gelbe Zuckerperlen. Da die beiden aber trotz kirchlicher Trauung Agnostiker sind, erscheinen ihnen diese ersten Parlamentarier, die sie antreffen, als nicht wählbar. Die Reise geht weiter Richtung Norden und schon fast am Tortenrand angelangt, treffen sie auf ein paar blaue Zuckerperlen, die ihnen als wählbar erscheinen.

Um Sorgfalt walten zu lassen kehren die beiden zum Ausgangspunkt (Tortenmitte) zurück und die Ehefrau schlägt eine Exkursion nach rechts vor. Nach etwa gleicher Marschzeit stossen die beiden auf ein paar grüne Zuckergeissböcke. Siehst Du, argumentiert die frisch Vermählte, rechts von uns haben wir etwa auf gleicher Distanz auch valable Kandidaten gefunden. Die befinden sich zwar ein bisschen weiter südlich Richtung “konservativem” Pol, aber scheinen uns trotzdem nahe zu stehen. Wollen wir nicht die grünen Geissböcke wählen? Der Geograph zeigt Interesse, will aber mit seiner kritischen Natur zuerst erfahren, wie die Namen der Pole bestimmt wurden. Leider geben die kulinarischen Experten der Bundeskanzlei in der Wahlbroschüre keine Auskunft dazu und auch sonst sind darüber kaum Informationen zu finden (ausser der oben erwähnten, recht non-chalanten Bemerkung zur Links-Rechts-Skala).

Hier müssen wir unsere Geschichte wohl abbrechen. Jeder, der auch nur das geringste von der Bundespolitik versteht, wird bemerkt haben, dass diese Marschrouten, so wie sie sich auf der Torte darstellen, nicht vergleichbar sind. Detailliertere Forschungen haben gezeigt, dass die politische Landschaft weder einer Hochzeitstorte noch einem Gugelhopf entspricht. Die kulinarisch nächste Äquivalenz wäre ein “Caprice des deux”: die Parteien unterscheiden sich stark auf der Links-Rechts-Achse, wenn es sich um Abstimmungen im Parlament handelt, und sind sich in anderen Belangen relativ nahe.

Fazit: Dass sich Zeitungen auf solche effekthascherische und undurchdachte Analysen stürzen, mag ja noch akzeptabel sein. Als zahlende Leser können wir per Kaufentscheid unserem allfälligen Unmut Ausdruck verleihen. Dass aber die Bundeskanzlei auf Kosten der Steuerzahler derartige politische Desinformation (und anscheinend ohne vorgängige wissenschaftliche Abklärungen vorgenommen zu haben) an alle Haushalte mit stimmberechtigten Wählern schickt, sollte zu denken geben.