Decisions on constitutional amendments by the Swiss sovereign

by Thomas Fleiner

On November 30, the Swiss voters and the cantons had to decide on three popular initiatives. They rejected all three initiatives with 60 to 78% of voters. The participation of voters was 48%.

Sixty percent of the voters and almost all cantons rejected the popular initiative for economic justice for taxpayers. The initiative proposed a new article in the constitution, which required that all people living in Switzerland have to pay taxes according to their economic performance. Accordingly, it prohibited any cantonal privilege to tax rich foreigners only equivalent to their effective expenditures. According to the Swiss constitutional system, the income of the federation is only one third. Two thirds of the income is cantonal and municipal. Obviously many people voted according to the federalist argument to leave this tax competence to the canton and rejected the argument with regard to the taxpayer justice.

With an even greater majority of some 74%. This initiative required a new provision of the consti-tution, which provided that Switzerland seek a number of inhabitants, which corresponds to its natural resources. In addition, it limited the immigration to only 2% of inhabitants. Finally, it required that the federation should provide at least 10% of its aid for the south to foster family planning based on freedom of choice. Although the supporters threatened, that the population of Switzerland would raise until 2050 from eight to eleven million inhabitants, the great majority of the voters rejected the initiative Switzerland. The arguments against the inflexible initiative that Switzerland would have to cancel the bilateral treaties with the EU and it would lose its economic wealth was obviously most convincing for the voters.

The voters rejected finally, the so-called “gold-initiative” to save the gold of our national bank with an overwhelming majority of 78%. The initiative required the national bank to have at least 20% of its assets in gold. In addition, it required that those assets remain unsalable. The voters rejected the initiative because they were convinced that this rigid requirement would hamper the independence of the national bank. They have confidence into the actual good policy of the national bank with regard to the stability of the Swiss Franc.

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