Swiss referendums, 2014

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politics and government of
Switzerland

Seven referendums have been held in Switzerland during 2014, with further referendums planned for 28 September, and 30 November.[1]

February referendums[edit]

There were 3 referendums on February 9, 2014.

The abortion referendum proposed that abortions would no longer be funded through health insurance, but should be paid for privately by the mother.[2]

The anti-immigration proposal was supported by the Swiss People's Party,[3] and opposes the free movement of workers between the EU and Switzerland, which was introduced following a 2000 referendum.[4]

The rail network proposal combined a number of existing federal and cantonal funds into a single permanent rail infrastructure fund, and defined a programme of upgrade projects of about 42 billion francs over 40 years, with a mechanism for the federal council to present regular updates to the programme. The initial programme includes a number of speed increases to intercity rail routes and S-Bahn expansion around Bern, Basel, and Geneva.[5]

Results[edit]

The abortion referendum, that would have dropped abortion coverage from public health insurance, failed by a large margin, with about 70% of participating voters rejecting the proposal.[6]

The immigration restriction proposal passed by a narrow margin, with 50.3% of participating voters supporting the measure; the proposal was also approved by the required majority of cantons.[7] The immigration measure requires the Swiss government to either renegotiate the Swiss-EU agreement of free movement of people within three years, or to revoke the agreement. The proposal mandates re-introduction of strict quotas for various immigration categories, and imposes limits on the ability of foreigners to bring in their family members to live in Switzerland, to access Swiss social security benefits, and to request asylum.[8] Opinion polls ahead of the vote showed the lead for the opponents of the immigration measure, but that lead began to close as the day of the referendum approached.[8]

Question For Against Invalid/
blank
Total
votes
Registered
voters
Turnout Cantons for Cantons against
Votes % Votes % Full Half Full Half
Abortion initiative 873,060 30.2 2,019,549 69.8 47,558 2,940,167 5,211,426 56.42 0 1 20 5
"Against mass immigration" 1,463,854 50.3 1,444,552 49.7 39,750 2,948,156 56.57 12 5 8 1
Financing and development of railway infrastructure 1,776,878 62.0 1,088,176 38.0 65,723 2,930,777 56.24 19 6 1 0
Source: Government of Switzerland, Government of Switzerland, Government of Switzerland

Aftermath[edit]

Due to the passing of the initiative to limit immigration, Switzerland has effectively rejected granting Croatia free movement of persons. As retaliation, the EU has excluded Switzerland from the programs Erasmus and Horizon 2020, the largest educational and research European program ever.

May referendums[edit]

Four referendums were held in Switzerland on 18 May 2014. An initiative on minimum wage proposed that the government should promote the adoption of minimum wages in collective agreements, and set a national minimum wage of 22 francs an hour,[9] which would have been the highest minimum wage in the world.[10] The other referendums included changes to primary health care, a lifetime ban on convicted pedophiles working with children, and the procurement of the JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft.[11]

Results[edit]

Question For Against Invalid/
blank
Total
votes
Registered
voters
Turnout Cantons for Cantons against
Votes % Votes % Full Half Full Half
JAS 39 Gripen procurement 1,345,726 46.59 1,542,761 53.41 52,649 2,941,136 5,221,519 56.33
Minimum wage 687,571 23.73 2,210,192 76.27 45,152 2,942,915 56.36 0 0 20 6
Primary health care 2,480,870 88.07 336,196 11.93 98,927 2,915,993 55.85 20 6 0 0
Restrictions on paedophiles 1,819,822 63.53 1,044,704 36.47 68,733 2,933,259 56.18 20 6 0 0
Source: Government of Switzerland

September referendums[edit]

Two referendums will be held on 28 September. Voters will be asked whether they support the creation of a unified health insurance fund and the "End to VAT discrimination in the hospitality industry" popular initiative.[12]

The health insurance proposal is supported by the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party, together with several user and consumer organisations.[12]

The VAT initiative was launched by GastroSuisse, and seeks to reduce the level of VAT paid in restaurants from the standard 8% to 2.5%, the same level paid at food stands. However, the Federal Council and the Federal Assembly both oppose the proposal, as it would reduce tax take by around CHF 750 million.[12]

References[edit]