June 14, 2010 - Phil Hodgen

Swiss political procedure comment from Zürich

From a correspondent in Zürich who prefers to remain anonymous comes a response to my question about Swiss political procedure.

Re your Blog question.

I am sure you already had many responses; but here are my two centimes worth….

If I’m not mistaken, both houses have to independently vote to declare that passage can be put up for referendum.  That is; either can block the possibility of making the “4450 Treaty” referendum valid. I believe the upper house will vote today; and the lower house tomorrow along with their second vote (this time probably a Yes). In other words; two votes come up in each of the parliamentary houses.

1. Yes or No on the Treaty, and

2.  Yes or no on the question: can it be brought to a referendum

Even if both houses say yes to the UBS ratification vote; they can still say no to a referendum.   If they say yes to referendum question; the public will then have to get the 50’000 signatures within 100 days. So the names will at least be delayed for another 100 days.  If the public can’t get the signatures; names are out after the 100 days. If the signatures are gathered, then it will go to a vote by the public; which can take months.

PS:  not all referendums need parliament approval; but this one does.    I think because some politicians argue that the “4450 USA Treaty” is not a permanent change of law. Since it’s a on off treaty; the people have no say.  The other half of the politicians claim it is a change of law and important enough that it should be brought before the folk.

What a mess.

Let us see what happens. And many thanks for this answer.


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