At Stake in the Referendum:
- The endorsement by popular referendum of two popular initiatives
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: President Didier BURKHALTER[i]
- Head of Government: President Didier BURKHALTER
- Assembly: Switzerland has a bicameral Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung/Assemblée Fédérale/Assemblea Federale) consisting of the Council of States (Standerat/Conseil des Etats/ Consiglio degli Stati) with 46 seats and the National Council (Nationalrat/Conseil National/Consiglio Nazionale) with 200 seats.
Description of electoral system:
- Legislative referendums in Switzerland are conducted on the basis of majority vote, with both the majority of people and majority of Cantons approving the referendum. Constitutional referendums and citizens’ initiatives are conducted on the basis of double majority for both votes and the cantonal vote.
Main Provisions in the Referendum (held Sunday 28 September 2014)[ii]
- Popular Initiative: “Stop the Tax-Discrimination of Hospitality”[iii]
- Description: The initiative requires that the services of the hospitality industry of the same VAT rate should apply as for the sale of food. This is an equality of hospitality and take-away are achieved.
- Poll question: Do you want to accept the people's initiative, "Stop the tax-discrimination of hospitality!"?
- Position of the Federal Assembly: Federal Council and Parliament recommend to reject the initiative. The National Council has rejected the initiative by 99 to 82 votes with 14 abstentions, the Council of States by 22 votes to 13, with 7 abstentions.
- Popular Initiative: “For a Public Health Insurance”[iv]
- Description: The initiative requires a single public health insurance run by a national institution and governed by public law.[v] The 61 private health insurance companies would have to withdraw from mandatory basic insurance and would only be allowed to provide supplementary insurance.[vi]
- Poll question: Do you want the popular initiative "for a public health insurance"?
- Position of the Federal Assembly: Federal Council and Parliament recommend to reject the initiative. The National Council has rejected the initiative by 132 votes to 62 with 2 abstentions, the Senate with 27 votes to 12, with 3 abstentions.
Population and Voter Registration:
· Female Population: 4,137,391 (2014)
· Is Switzerland a signatory to CEDAW: Yes (23 January 1987)
· Has Switzerland ratified CEDAW: Yes (27 March 1997)
· Gender Quota: No
· Female candidates in this election: N/A
· Number of Female Parliamentarians: 57 (National Council); 9 (Council of States) following the 2011 elections
· Human Development Index Position: 3 (2014)
· Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Categorization: N/A
· Is Switzerland a signatory to CRPD: No
· Has Switzerland ratified CRPD: Yes, accession (15 April 2014)
· Population with a disability: 1,228,297 (est.)
[i] The Federal Presidency rotates among the 7 members of the Federal Council, which is the formal chief of state. Presently the Federal Council consists of Doris LEUTHARD, Eveline WIDMER-SCHLUMPF, Ueli MAURER, Didier BURKHALTER, Simonetta SOMMARUGA, Johan SCHNEIDER—AMMANN, and Alain BERSET.