Swiss referendums, 1879

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Two referendums were held in Switzerland in 1879.[1] A federal law on subsidies for railways in the Alps was passed by 70.7% of voters on 19 January, whilst a referendum on the death penalty on 18 May was passed by 52.5% of voters and a majority of cantons.


The January referendum on rail subsidies was classed as an optional referendum,[1] which meant that only a majority of the public vote was required for the proposals to be approved. The referendum on the death penalty involved amending article 65 of the federal constitution, and was a mandatory referendum,[1] which required both a majority of voters and cantons to approve the proposals.[2]


Federal law on rail subsidies[edit]

Choice Votes %
For 278,731 70.7
Against 115,571 29.3
Invalid/blank votes
Total 394,302 100
Registered voters/turnout 636,996
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

Constitutional amendment on the death penalty[edit]

Choice Popular vote Cantons
Votes % Full Half Total
For 200,485 52.5 13 4 15
Against 181,588 47.5 6 2 7
Invalid/blank votes
Total 351,606 100 19 6 22
Registered voters/turnout 633,138
Source: Nohlen & Stöver


  1. ^ a b c Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, pp1902–1903 ISBN 9783832956097
  2. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p1891