by Prof. Markus Kern / Fabian Schmid, University of Bern
On February 9, 2020, two proposals were up for decision by the Swiss electorate:
– the Popular Initiative claiming “more affordable homes” as well as
– a referendum concerning a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in criminal law
The Popular Initiative was rejected by 57.1% of the Swiss population and by all but 4½ of the cantons, whereas the amendment of criminal law was clearly accepted by a majority of 63.1% of the voters. Electoral turnout was at 41.7% resp. 40.9%.
by Prof. Markus Kern / Tobias Egli, University of Bern
Construction activity in Switzerland is intense: Every day, the equivalent of eight soccer pitches is newly covered with buildings. The increasing concern about the phenomenon of urban sprawl has already had tangible political consequences in recent years: In 2012 the so called «Second Home Initiative» was accepted on the federal level, banning the construction of second homes in municipalities with a proportion of second homes exceeding 20%. In the same year the voters of the Canton of Zurich accepted the so called «Arable Land Initiative» aiming at the protection of arable land in the canton.
by Prof. Markus Kern / Antonia Huwiler, University of Bern
The Swiss electorate only accepted one of the three proposals up for discussion: The direct counter-proposal to the Bike Initiative. The Fair Food Initiative and the Initiative for food sovereignty have been rejected. The voter turnout amounted to around 37%.
by Thomas Fleiner
The sovereign decided on this Sunday on two crucial decisions, with regard to the Swiss constitution: The turnout of this vote was 54.1%. This turnout is exceptionally high for Switzerland, because the discussions mainly on the decision of the sovereign with regard to radio and television were strongly emotional. The first decision concerns a federal decision of the Swiss parliament about the financial order of Switzerland (Article196 cipher 13, 14 par 1 and 15 of the Constitution). The sovereign adopted this first decision by a majority of 84,1%; all cantons adopted this decision of the Parliament; however, the sovereign rejected the second popular initiative by a majority of 71,6% against 28.4%.
by Fiona De Londras, Professor of Global Legal Studies, Deputy Head of Birmingham Law School
The Irish Constitution can only be formally amended by referendum (Art. 46). Unlike in some jurisdictions, however, there is no formal mechanism for popular initiative: ultimately only the Oireachtas [Parliament] can propose a referendum, and the exact wording of the proposition put to the People ordinarily comes from the Attorney General. What the current developments in respect of the 8th Amendment and its potential repeal show, however, is that constitutional change in Ireland is not necessarily a technocratic, elite discourse: it can be, and in this case is being, driven by a social demand for change.
by Thomas Fleiner.
On Sunday November 27, the Swiss sovereign (according to Article 195 as well as Article 142 par two of the Constitution) decided on a popular constitutional initiative concerning the organized and controlled exit from nuclear energy. The decision was made with a turnout of some 49% against the initiative voted 54% while 45% voted yes. 18 cantons voted no and only 5 cantons voted yes.
by Dr. Alkmene Fotiadou, Centre for European Constitutional Law.
On July 25, the Greek Prime Minister announced his proposals for a revision of the Constitution of Greece. The key characteristic of the proposals is the very conspicuous possibility that an unconstitutional constitutional revision shall take place, entailing both procedural unconstitutionality and subject-matter unconstitutionality.
by John McEldowney
On 23rd June 2016, the UK held a referendum on EU membership. The referendum question was “ Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? The answer surprised some, but delighted others, 51.9% wished to leave while 48.9% wished to remain.
by Thomas Fleiner
This is analysis of the decisions of the Swiss sovereign on three constitutional amendments and on a legislative referendum that took place on February 28, 2016. The turnout is usually lower than 40%. This time, however, it was very high with 62% mainly thanks to the initiative of the UDC.
Dr. Alkmini Fotiadou, Centre For European Constitutional Law.
Woke up this morning to find out I must vote on Sunday on the «Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond» and on the «Preliminary Debt sustainability analysis». I googled them but could not find them. A few hours later I found the documents through the Financial Times, while an unofficial translation in Greek appeared later on in the social media. Then, I re-read a bit of constitutional referendums theory. The prerequisites for elite-manipulation are painfully present. The most striking characteristic of the proposed snap referendum is that it is more than a snap referendum. It is a surprise referendum. Lack of time for deliberation is more than apparent. Actually there is no time to even realize what is at stake.