So…this weekend will see yet another popular vote with Covid once again providing the issue and plenty of controversy. There are also some pretty important local issues that need to be ironed out which will affect the cities road users. Which i think is most of us. Anyone here got away with not using roads? Any hoo, here is a brief guide to what the vote on Sunday is about.
In June Switzerland voted by a healthy majority to introduce the Covid-19 law which enshrines financial support and the Covid certificate into law. After the vote a series of challenges has made it necessary to vote on amendments to the Covid -19 Act. Obviously the Covid certificate is controversial as, it is argued, it discriminates against those that have not been vaccinated and impinges on personal freedoms and federalism. Support for the law is unanimous amongst the larger parties with, yes you guessed it, the SVP being the only party to object.
With an ageing population and Covid, nursing in Switzerland is in crisis with a whopping 46% of nurses leaving the profession prematurely. A peoples initiative seeks to tackle the problem with better pay and working conditions, (rather than just standing on balconies and applauding them,) more training and improved career trajectories. This vote is unusual as peoples initiatives normally fail to pass but, at present, polls show around 60% support for the initiative.
In the current Swiss system the federal judiciary is chosen broadly by political affiliation with judges having strong links to established parties. Swiss entrepreneur Adrian Gasser thinks this stinks of nepotism and politicises the legal system. And he’s not alone! Even the Council of Europe has given Switzerland a hard time over this. However, like most people’s initiatives, this one looks doomed to fail as picking judges «by lot» doesn’t seem to sit well with the Swiss electorate.
The first vote is a cantonal matter and concerns environmental issues with a law to reduce or eliminate gas and oil powered heating systems and replace them with climate neutral solutions. Seems sensible enough but the SVP say no.
Town planning and Zurich’s future dominate the votes in the city. The first vote deals with planning for housing and defines areas in the city where housing can be built whilst defining leisure areas and green spaces. This plan is objected to by the FDP and, obviously, the SVP who seem to object to everything.
Running in parallel with the first vote is the planning for getting all these people around the city. The proposal is for more 30km speed limits, safer and clearer cycle lanes and more pedestrianised areas. The downside is that blue parking zones may have to be sacrificed to accommodate the cycle lanes and the SVP argue that reduced speed limits would also slow down public transport.
The third vote deals with funding for a new and expanded district heating system utilising the existing garbage and wood burning power stations. All part of the plan to reduce fossil fuel use and make Zurich carbon neutral by 2040. Good idea, huh? Have a guess who’s objecting?
Finally, the fourth vote is to approve a loan for a replacement housing estate in the Hardau area of the city. The loan would be for around 70 million francs and would see the construction of a new housing estate, complete with kindergarten. The SVP objects, (of course,) saying that the old building should be renovated and there is not enough car parking.
So…this weekend will see yet another popular vote with Covid once again providing the issue and plenty of controversy. There are also some pretty important local issues that need to be ironed out which will affect the cities road users.
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