Yesterday the Swiss people had the opportunity of voting on three national referendum questions, something they do four times a year, (along with some cantonal referendums – of the latter more later): they backed a new law allowing phone and email tapping; they rejected a proposal to increase retirement benefits by 10%; and they also rejected unspecified cuts in the use of natural resources such as lumber and water.
Where cantonal referendums were concerned, in the canton of Neuchâtel, the people voted against an initiative that would have made it the first Swiss canton to allow foreigners to stand in cantonal elections. Fifty-four percent of voters rejected the plan, launched by a citizens’ committee last month. Several cantons do allow foreign nationals to stand for public office at communal level, but none at cantonal level. The French-speaking canton in Western Switzerland is already a pioneer when it comes to civic rights for foreigners. Foreign nationals have been allowed to vote in communal elections for over 150 years, and in 2000 they were granted the right to vote at cantonal level.In a 2007 referendum the public granted foreigners the right to stand for office in communal elections, but not at cantonal level.
Also of note is the result of a referendum in the canton of Ticino, where a measure making it more difficult for foreign workers to be employed won 58 percent of the vote. Brussels has immediately ‘jumped on this, saying that the vote would further complicate thorny negotiations over a national vote in early 2014 in which Switzerland voted for similar curbs, despite them violating the EU’s free movement rules. Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, said today, at a daily briefing: Yesterday’s vote will not make the already difficult talks any easier.
Interesting also are three graphs encapsulated in this article in Swissinfo which shows the history of referendums since 1848. By ‘hovering’ the mouse over each bar one can see the referendum question and whether it was accepted or rejected.
I headed this article ‘compare and contrast’ – and, dear reader, do just that with the preceding link; and then wonder at the varied and many topics the people of Switzerland get to decide, whereas in the UK the government of the day decides, depending on its political ideology at that time, with the people have no means of querying any decision that is made on their behalf.
Democracy = ‘demos’: people; and ‘kratos’: power. We, the people, ain’t got any power, be that at national, local, or communal level; even though our politicians, both national and local, repeatedly maintain we have because we can vote them out of office.
Wow, the ability to vote out of office one ‘brain-dead monkey’ and ‘repetitive parrot’, wearing say a blue rosette; and replacing him/her with another of similar questionable ability wearing a red, yellow, or purple rosette, is power?
You gotta be joking!