This Sunday is another chance for the folks of Switzerland to go to the polls and, i would say, the most eye catching has been the «Extremismus Stoppen» posters that have sprung up around the city like some horrible fungus. But the folks of Zurich have a whopping 11 initiatives to vote on this Sunday. Here’s a (as consise as i can make it,) review of what is happening.
First up is the already mentioned «Verhüllungsverbot» vote. In other countries this is a more complicated issue but as Burka or Niqab wearers in Switzerland are as rare as rocking horse poop it does seem like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Until recently polls suggested that a yes vote for the ban was a likely outcome. However, women rights groups have weighed in on the debate and have closed the gap in terms of polling. You can read more here.
ID for Heidi
The second federal vote concerns the issuance of voluntary digital ID’s which can be used for digital shopping, banking and a whole other host of online activities. The vote centres on who will be trusted to provide theses services, the public sector or private companies. Recent events have shown that the Federal government is not that computer savvy but do the people of Switzerland want to trust their personal data to the private sector. I guess we’ll find out on Monday morning.
Troublesome Trade Off
The final Federal vote concerns a trade deal with Indonesia which will allow more streamlined trade. Palm oil is the bone of contention here with reduced tariffs on sustainable imports only. The objections arise from the (alleged,) levels of corruption in Indonesia and the ease with which certification of sustainability can be obtained.
The first vote increases the amount that the cantonal government can spend from 300k to 400k for recurring expenditures and 3 million to 4 million for one-off expenditures. Expenditure exceeding this limit will now be subject to an optional referendum which actually brings the threshold for a referendum down from 600k and 6 million respectively. I'm sure the voters will be delighted.
The second vote concerns an amendment to the Social Assistance Act (Sozialhilfegesetzes) and aims to provide a clearer legal footing for detectives investigating social assistance cases. No more claiming benefits and jumping into your Ferrari then.
Where You From?
The third initiative requires the nationality and «migration background» to be mentioned in police reports. With the exception of the SVP, (who supported the initiative,) all parties say no.
A counter proposal aims to retain the status quo which is a disclosure of nationality in serious crimes and no mention of migration background.
City Issues: School, Parks, Apartments and Another School
There are four upcoming votes on city based matters and these concern some pretty uncontroversial construction projects. Unsurprisingly the Stadt Zurich website is in German but here’s a small summary of the votes.
3. Hohlstrasse is to be the location of a new housing estate with 265 apartments and a kindergarten. Everyone is agreement on this…except the SVP who aren’t fans of municipal housing.
4. The schools in Waidberg are overflowing so the city wants to build a new, environmentally friendly school for 260 children with sports halls made available for outside clubs. Unsurprisingly, no-one is objecting to this.
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