People’s Rights Must not Be Levered out

October 15th, 2011

People’s initiative law in the Swiss Council of States on 20 September 2011 – Published on Current Concerns no. 20, by Dr iur Marianne Wüthrich, Zurich, October 2011.

On 20 September the Council of States has voted on two proposals which pursue the goal to restrict the original Swiss democratic right to initiatives. Rightly the State Political Commission (SPK) of the Council of States opposed the parliament initiative by Daniel Vischer (GP); Vischer demands frankly that people’s initiatives “infringing the protection of fundamental rights and procedural safeguards of international law” be declared invalid. 

In contrast to this, the SPK proposed a moderate solution under the headline “measures towards a better compatibility of people’s initiatives with fundamental rights”. But also this variant is neither appropriate nor necessary.

One of the fundamental direct-democratic rights of the Swiss is the right – by means of a federal people’s initiative – to initiate a referendum regarding the change of an article of the Federal Constitution or even a complete revision of the Constitutions. Since 1974, 175 people’s initiatives have been voted on. 18 of them, a little over 10 percent, were adopted by the people and the cantons.

See also Annexe – Peremptory Norm (ius cogens): According to a Federal Council report (BBL in 2011, p. 3626).

Parliamentary Initiative Daniel Vischer: … //

… Conclusion:

Indeed, an indispensable “core content” of the Federal Constitution are the direct- democratic rights of the Swiss people. Our representatives’ primary duty is to reinforce them – not to weaken them.
(full long text and 2 annexes: Fuelling Fears of the Too-big-to-fail-Problem, and Peremptory Norm {ius cogens} on the same page).

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