Swiss Politicians and social Media

Social media are transforming our world and the way we communicate. More and more Swiss people are using Twitter and Facebook: nearly 40% of the Swiss population is on Facebook (3,019,940 swiss users)!  Around the world, politiciens are using those plateforms to communicate with citizens. The swiss politicians, even if they aren’t the most assiduous, are no exception to the rule. Do they really notice the impact of social media? How do they use these sites? Is it of any good for the democracy? What are the risks?

Electoral interests or how to reach the young people.

Most Swiss politicians think that the impact of social medias on elections or votes is very little. However, they use them mostly during those periods. Some politicians even neglect them completely when there are no electoral terms. What is certain is that social medias are a useful tool to reach specific citizens:

 «Using social medias makes it possible to reach a different public, younger than the radio listeners and newspapers readers: people which don’t necessarily vote »

Liliane Maury-Pasquier in the interview that she gave at MAJ consulting, dans le car de DMI© politique genevoise, a study on the usage of Social Media by the Geneva’s politicians.

It is a known fact that most social medias users are young and that they aren’t the most fervent voters. Here is a chart on the swiss Facebook users according to their age category (from

As rough guide, let’s take a look at the age of the voters, on march 2012 in Geneva:

Aware of that phenomenon many political parties (Liberal-Radical, Socialiste, etc) encourage their members to use those platforms. The UDC, a right wing nationalist party, even propose lessons on how use of social media … Maybe because it faced allready some problems with it. (We will see that in the last section.)

Personnaly, I don’t know if using the social medias is going to change anything: people mostly use Facebook and Twitters to look up things that they are already interested in. That’s even more the case, when we see how the use those plateforms.

The Upheaval of the Top-Down

Almost every Swiss politicians has a Facebook or/and Twitter account, but very little use it well – by respecting the potentialities offered and the new paradigm that those new medias imply. Most of them treat those plateforms as they would the old medias: they tweet or post on Facebook in the same way as they would speak on the radio – i.e. without any interaction or dialogue with the public. This way is called TOP-DOWN. What the politicians have to understand is the redifining of the link with the readers, who aren’t passive anymore. Top-down scheme is over, time for the horisontalisation!

The MAJ consulting study talks a lot about this flaw: “Geneva’s politicians considere the new medias moslty as a marketing tool. They are interested in self-promotion (…). There is almost no interaction with the public.”  A easy way to see that is the few questions or survey that the politicians post. They usually don’t take part in the discussion that take place in the comments section.

Again, a paradox: When asked for the reason why they use Facebook, the swiss politicians emphasize on the close link created with the public, the possibility to acquaint with  citizens concerns and points, to debate and convince. Pretty hard to do with no exchange at all…

There are some exceptions, usually from the part of the young politicians. Philippe Nantermod (vice-presidentof the young PLR) participate to discussion, initiates debates and answers gladly to the readers questions. Olga Baranova (member of the socialist party) goes a step further in taking advices and ideas from those social medias to contribute to her political speeches and positioning.

Almost no tweet

Swiss politicians don’t use much Twitter. As a sign of this disinterest, a look at the Swiss Federal Council: if every member of the council has a Facebook account (part of Ueli Maurer), only one of them has an active Twitter account. Yet this micro-blogging plateform have a real benefit: diffuse your views and opinions, your agenda and your thought in real-time. Some swiss politicians use it all the same. An easy way to see their publications is the @Politiker list on Twitter, which collects all their tweets:

A probable reason why Twitter is a put aside, is the time-consuming aspect of the social medias. Ada Mara (Socialist Party) told me that she spent  two hours a day on them!

Social Media, a Good for Democracy?

With the Web 2.0, everyone has a voice: the monopoly of big media companies and journalists in the gate-keeping and agenda-setting is over. As we have seen, social-medias allow a new way of communication and exchange of information between politciens and citizens. Politicians aren’t on their pulpits anymore, they come down the stage, close to the people. With that, they have to accept to be played up, to answer embarassing or disturbing questions: in a word, they have to accept the new transparency criteria.

We can bet on the fact that it’s going to have a big impact on how politics do their job. Maybe soon, as René Tregouet claimed (in a study called Des pyramides de pouvoir au réseaux de savoir), the member of parliament will have to conduct survey on the Internet, before taking any major decision.

An exemple of this happend during the last election in the Canton of Vaud, where three you candidates presented themselves as Wikicrates: if elected, they promessed to vote in the “Grand Conseil” (Executive of the Canton) as the people would have ask them to on social medias. They didnt’ get elected, but this shows how the politics may change in it’s very function.

Social Media and Politics, what Risks?

First, there is a risk of losing the distinction between private and public life. Old school politicians tend to maintain this distinction, as Antonio hodgers (Ecologist Party) who cleaned up his Facebook page when he decided to use in a political purpose. Philippe Nantermod, as for him, told me that he liked mixing up his political and private life, that for him it didn’t make sense to isolate one from the other. (Is this distinction important to you?)

The risk is that the personality of a politician counts more that his ideas. The same goes for the instrumentalization of this image in order to win election, as we may see in the US. For me, that’s a really big issue. Another aspect is to reduce political topics to “small sentences”, especially on Twitter. It is very difficult to have a complex discussion on that type of media, cause you down want your public to get bored.

This video from Nouvo (RTS, novembre 22nd 2010), talks about the possible manipulation which can occure on the social medias:


It’s a fact that the new social medias will to change the way we mesure and practice democracy. As for now, the majority of Swiss politicians didn’t realize the potential upheaval implied: they use mostly those plateforms to promote themselves, instead of using them as a new way to dialogue with their constituents and the citizens in general.

In the future, we’ll see if the good contributions of those plateforms will supplant the risks and downsides. And you, what do you think, are Facebook and Twitter a good way to improve democracy? Would you vote for a Wikicrate?

(1. My article was focusing on the swiss politicians and the way they use social medias. You can find a really interesting study on the swiss political parties and the way they use social medias on this site:

Appendixe: twitter and facebook gaffes.

To finish, let’s take a look at two gaffes that costed their job and politicial afiliation to two UDC politicians…

 Alexandre Müller (#DailyTalk): “Maybe do we need a new  crystal night, this time against mosques.”

Sepi Spiess, talking about a moldavian thief who got killed by the police: ” I was really happy to learn that. That’s how it should go. We ought to shoot them, so they don’t cost us anything. The foreigners make fun of us and our laws. ”

You are warned, if you are mean, drunk or pissed off, think twice before tweeting!

By Alan Monnat

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  1. #1 by C. Lee on April 17, 2013 - 17:07

    Political correctness is often misused by left-wing hypocrits in order to supress freedom of expression. Do you know in which context the comments have been published?

  2. #2 by jack loach on January 4, 2014 - 15:26

    Update — Jan. 4th. 2014.

    Pictet & Cie Bank —- List of Crimes.

    1996 —– F.S.A— Breach in London.

    2003 —– F.S.A. — States rogues operating in Pictet’s London office. Ivan Pictet
    states that documents were forgeries but were later proved to be genuine in
    the British Courts. He had documents destroyed in their London office —
    hoping to hide the crimes.

    2007 .- – – The Securities and Exchange Surveillance issued a recommendation
    that the Prime Minister and The Commissioner of the FSA to take disciplinary action against Pictet Asset Management – Japan Ltd.

    2008 .– Dec. – Pictet Bank state – ” We have never chosen any funds linked to Madoff.

    2011 – – – Madoff Trustees sue Pictet & Cie. Bank for $156 Million.

    2011- – – Pictet & Cie Bank abetted a Bribery Scheme – Oil company sues Pictet for $350Million

    2012 – – – April – Geneva Bank Pictet used in Offshore Tax Scheme. ( USA.)

    2012 — – June. — Published in Anglo INFO .Geneva.— USA Trust Fund Investors were sent false and fraudulent documents by Pictet Bank in order to collect large fees. ( Like MADOFF)
    Even after the SEC in the USA uncovered the fraud Pictet continued to charge fees and drain whatever was left in these accounts. Estimated that $90 million lost in this Pictet Ponzi scheme.

    2012 – – – July. — De – Spiegel. — states – Pictet Bank uses a letterbox company in
    Panama and a tax loophole involving investments in London to gain
    German millionaires as clients.

    2012 – – – August —- German Opposition Leader accuses Swiss Banks of “organised crime.”

    2013 — Jan.— Swiss MP’ table motion to freeze Tiab Mahmud’s assets of ” criminal origins”
    held in Swiss banks – $18 million held in 5 accounts at Pictet & Cie. Bank. Bahamas.

    Ironically the Pictet & Cie.Bank partners are bigger criminals than the criminals who have accounts in the their bank.

    The bank is now seeking to re-structure — to cut the partners liability – hoping to off load their decades of criminal responsibilty – and move onwards to carry out new crimes. The Germans are right — the bankers should go to prison if found guilty of financial crimes..

    Peters &Peters – Partners.— (1999—2013)— guilty.

    Pictet & Cie. — Partners. — (1999 — 2013)—guilty.

    The bank and it’s officials/lawyers deliberately withheld crucial documents requested under a High Court order. The bank and it’s officials/lawyers deliberately withheld evidence from the Police, and one of it’s account managers Susan Broadhead gave a false witness statement to the Police.
    Another one of it’s managers Nicholas Campiche ( Now Head of Pictet – Alternative Investments.) concocted a letter pretending to be a client and closed his account. The senior partner (Ivan Pictet.) sought to have numerous documents destroyed,along with those copies held in their London office’s of Pictet Asset Management. Initially stating that they were forgeries then their lawyers Peters & Peters – Monty Raphael Q.C.–and the barrister Charles Flint.Q.C. later had to admit in Court that the documents were genuine.

    British Parliament. Hansard .29th March 2007.
    Barry Sheerman .M.P.—quote.

    ———“ Constituents of mine have lost £2 million through fraud. The fraudster used Pictet & Cie – – a French Bank – – and Pictet Asset Management to back the fraud being perpetrated.””

    Both Ivan Pictet and Monty Raphael.Q.C. conspired to withhold crucial documents requested by the High Court – the FSA — and the Police Fraud Squad.

    Written Parliamentary Questions received by the table office ..

    (1) To ask the secretary of state what steps he is taking to ensure that Swiss Banks such as Pictet & Cie do not evade criminal prosecution under EU law even when the illegal act is committed by a London based subsidiary.

    (2)To ask the secretary of state what steps he is taking to protect the rights of UK citizens who seek redress following criminal activities by Swiss banks with subsidiary offices located in London.

    *** We note that there has been a sharp increase in Peters & Peters partners leaving to go to other practices. Moving does not alleviate them of any responsibility from any illegalities that may have occurred at Peters & Peters during their partnership tenure. From 1999 onwards.

    The consensus of opinion is the Pictet & Cie should be prosecuted , and that their U.K. banking licence should be taken away.

    Their Solicitors at Peters & Peters .London “ struck off and prosecuted..”

    *** Started campaign — June 6th.2008.
    5 .5years —- approx 10 .5 million e-mails – – – but still no writs, injunctions or threats of litigation – – – WHY – – – because it is all true.

    *** . The bigger they are — the harder they fall.!!!
    In America —- they would have all been in prison for the last seven years.

    Feb 2013,— Pictet & Cie Bank Partners remove their unlimited liability.
    They realise that all their personal wealth is at risk , the people they have conned might want their money back.

    Full Story.***
    . ” Google ” or ” Yahoo” .—- “images”

    Insert– ( Charles Pictet. Banker.
    Insert– ( Ivan Pictet.Banker.
    Insert– ( Jacques de Saussure.Banker.
    Insert– ( Nicolas Pictet. Banker.
    Insert– ( Jean-Francois Demole.Banker.
    Insert — ( Philippe Bertherat. Banker.
    Insert– ( Renaud de Planta. Banker.
    Insert. — ( Monty Raphael.Q.C.)

    Over the last eighteen months we posted the following on hundreds of sites . —

    *** Were currently waiting for the West Yorkshire Police ;-
    (1) Chief Constable . Sir Norman Bettison
    (2) Forces Solicitor. Mike Percival.
    (3) Head of Economic Crime Unit. Det Chief Inspector. Steven Taylor.

    to see if they continue to cover up this case like the FSA. – “ watch this space.”

    We can now state that all the above have been removed from their posts. All three facing criminal allegations.

  3. #3 by jack loach on January 4, 2014 - 15:27

    Sods —– Law.
    January.—- 2014.

    For almost two decades we have strived to get justice for the injustice we have suffered at the hands of a world renowned bank— PICTET & CIE. BANK.

    Two yorkshiremen both running their own small family businesses trying to resolve the problem by taking all the correct legal procedures to recover their monies.

    The matter was raised in Parliament – twice– the FSA investigated the matter concluding that PICTET had rogues operating in their London Bank — but the rogues had left —saying no one left to prosecute.??? —– so there.

    We then approached the Financial Ombudsman Service. (FOS) — our case was dealt with by seven different people —- then our numerous E-Mails were ignored — nobody would speak to us ——-so there.

    We then asked the SFO ( Serious Fraud Office.) to investigate our case —- the criteria of our case ticked all their boxes. — we were instructed not to send them any documents/evidence.—— in fact they wrote to us advising us to go to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.(CAB.)

    Richard Alderman the SFO boss —- who responded to our letter was the same man who would not investigate the “ Madoff” scandal or the “Libor” fiasco.
    The MP’s committee —- said he was sloppy— and the SFO was run like “ Fred Karno’s Circus” ——- so there.

    Our M.P. approached our local Chief Constable to investigate—– he was called—- Sir Norman Bettison— Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police —- a force that made “ Dad’s Army” look like the S.A.S. They were inept – corrupt —malicious — from top to bottom. We were criminally dealt with by the Forces Solicitor—- the Head of the Economic Crime Unit —-and the Chief Constable —– so there.

    We were then advised to pass our complaint against West Yorkshire Police to the I.P.C.C. – which we did — they advised us to make our complaint to —- the West Yorkshire Police — we did with reluctance — all we got was abuse and obfuscation. —– so there.

    Sir Norman Bettison —- The Forces solicitor— and the Head of the Economic Crime —- have all been removed from their posts and facing criminal allegations.
    —— so there.

    We even sought justice through the Courts — culminating in a visit to the Court of Appeal-London.— On leaving the Courts of Appeal that day our barrister a “rising star” informed us — that if that was Justice then you can keep it. He quit the law and moved to Canada —– so there.

    A few years later we learned that one of the judges in our case at the Court of Appeal was related to a senior executive of the Pictet Bank —–so there.

    Pictet & Cie .Bank — voted private bank of the year 2013.
    Ivan Pictet —- Voted banker of the year 2012. —- the senior partner — lied on numerous occasions and had documents destroyed — also said genuine documents were forgeries. —– so there.

    Ivan Pictet in Oct. 2013 —- Given the Legion of Honour — but saying that —- honours were given to Hitler — Eichmann — Mussolini —Franco — he’s in fitting company. —-so there.

    MONTY RAPHAEL.Q.C. — Peters & Peters.London. They were the banks lawyers.
    Monty Raphael.Q.C. along with Ivan Pictet withheld crucial documents requested by the High Court —- the FSA —- and the police Fraud Squad. —-so there.

    Monty Raphael.Q.C. became an Honorary Queens Counsellor in March. 2012.
    Monty Raphael.Q.C. became a Master of the Bench in Nov.2012.
    An expert in Fraud —the Doyen of Fraud Lawyers. —– so there.

    This says a lot about Banks — the consensus of opinion is that they are highly paid “crooks” —- no wonder they voted Ivan Pictet banker of the year.

    Full Story.—- “google or Yahoo”


    Ivan Pictet.Banker.
    Monty Raphael.Q.C.
    Ivan Pictet/Monty Raphael.

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