connect, grow & thrive.

The November 25 Referendums explained

Here we are again for our last round of referendums for 2018. This last series of subjects are super varied and one could have serious repercussions for Switzerland democratic process, but let’s start at the beginning.

The first initiative Für die Würde des Landswirtschaftlichen Nutztiere (For the well being of agricultural cattle) is to get farmers to stop burning off their cows’ and goats’ horns. Arguing that this is traumatic for young animals to have to endure and that the only reason that farmers do this is for economic reason (smaller stables), the initiative proponents are suggesting that the government should pay a subsidy to farmers who decide to not remove their animals horns. They argue that the animals suffer and some remain traumatised all of their life as a result of having their horns removed.

The government is against this initiative arguing that this could lead to animals being restrained more often in order to not harm the farmers and that it is easier for farmers to look after animals who do not have horns.

The second initiative Schweizer Recht statt fremde Richter (Swiss right instead of foreign judges) has been put forward by the SVP, the right wing political party, and it is calling for Switzerland to change its rules regarding any deals with foreign countries. Should a referendum be voted in that doesn’t meet the requirements of an already agreed upon contract with a foreign country, that contract should either be adapted to integrated the result of the referendum or be declared void and a new one created.

The government is against this initiative arguing that this would erode our stability, democracy and our relationships with foreign countries. The initiators argue that this would, in fact, protect Switzerland’s principal of direct democracy.

In the days of Brexit it will be interesting which way the people decide to vote.

It is interesting to note that the SVP have changed their communication strategy and instead of playing up the fear factor (like their infamous black sheep being kicked off the Swiss map poster), they have opted for a pretty blonde, blue eyed woman on a sunny yellow poster and no mention of the SVP party is to be found anywhere on the poster.

The last initiative Gesetzliche Grundlage für die Überwachung von Versicherten (Legal rulings in regard to the surveillance of insured people). Insurance companies believe that it is, from time to time, necessary for them to spy on people they believe are making fraudulent claims. This initiative is calling for the legalisation of surveillance but also the implementation of strict codes as to what can or cannot be recorded. People can only be put under surveillance if there is a strong belief that they are acting illegally. They could only be filmed and recorded in public spaces and without the help of ladders, drones or special microphones and for no longer than 6 months. Should this initiative be refused it will remain illegal to covertly film or record anyone.

The government is calling for the first two initiatives to be turned down and the last one to be accepted. We will let you know how the voting goes.

 

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Living in Luzern organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

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