The Referendum of the Revised Swiss Asylum Law in 2016 : An Application of the Advocacy Coalition Framework


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The Referendum of the Revised Swiss Asylum Law in 2016 : An Application of the Advocacy Coalition Framework
Niederberger Philipp
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The following paper deals with the idea of a possible policy change of actors in political coalitions due to an external event or policy-oriented learning. Therefore, the requested referendum of the revised Swiss asylum law revision in 2016 has been analyzed according to the Advocacy Coalition Framework theory. In order to get information about the position of the
SVP, a qualitative content analysis of the four debates in Swiss parliament about the revision of the asylum law was performed. The idea was to find out if the European migrant crisis and the corresponding media coverage had an impact on the position of the SVP towards the new asylum law, which would provide a faster and more constitutional asylum procedure. In a second analysis the paper tried to find out the impact the evaluation testing operation of the asylum law in Zurich had on the position of the SVP. Overall the paper tries to determine the reasons of the requested referendum of the SVP. The paper drew two main conclusions. The European migrant crisis as an external shock had no significant impact on the position of the SVP. According to the ACF theory an external shock can lead to a change in the policy core beliefs of a coalition. The paper deducted that the impact of the waves of refugees towards Europe was not sufficient to change the SVP's policy core beliefs. Therefore, they requested the referendum and held on their position in asylum policy matters. Probably observed time span of a bit more than one and half year was a too short period for having a real impact on the SVP policy core programme. Likewise, the testing phase in Zurich with the corresponding evaluation reports could not
influence the position. Here a confrontation of new findings collided with the policy core belief of the SVP. A consequent refusal of the new finding of the testing phase by the SVP-faction occurred. This observation fits with the ACF theory, which indicates that policy-oriented learning with quantitative indicators of success is more likely to be successful when it concerns secondary beliefs of a coalition, rather than the policy core beliefs. The theory of policyoriented learning could be confirmed with the position of the FDP in the debate about the asylum law revision. First being against the free legal assistance, they changed their mind after being convinced by the results in the testing phase in Zurich. For the FDP as a traditionally market liberal political party, a restrictive and severe asylum policy is not a part of their policy core beliefs. Therefore, they changed the coalition and voted in favour of the asylum law revision. The paper ascertained four arguments for the requested referendum which are the following ones: the free legal assistance to the asylum seekers, the malfunctioning and the poor execution of the Dublin regulation, the wish to reduce the attractiveness of Switzerland as a
target country and the planning permit procedures.
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27/11/2017 16:45
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20/08/2019 16:37
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