Switzerland will hold a referendum in June on whether the government will still have the power to declare national lockdowns. The plebiscite comes after a petition with 86,000 signatures was filed on Wednesday.
In Switzerland, a petition with 50,000 scribbles is enough to set up a national referendum. With 86,000 signatures, the campaigners attracted more than enough enthusiasts. As a result, a plebiscite followed in June asking the government’s power over corona measures.
The Covid-19 law passed in September last year infuriates liberal Swiss citizens for giving the central government the uncontrolled authority to impose rules to stop the spread of the virus. With the referendum, Switzerland would become the first and only country to give its citizens a direct vote on the lockdown restrictions facing the entire world.
Small piece of a large puzzle
“In our opinion, it benefits [de regering] of the pandemic to introduce more control and less democracy, ”says Christoph Pfluger The Financial Times, board member of the so-called ‘Friends of the Constitution’ who lead the campaign. “The long-term problems that can arise with such an approach are major. We are a movement that argues that crisis management cannot be done without the will of the people. You cannot rule without those people. ”
Critics of the campaigners argue that the pandemic will have receded by the time the referendum is held in June, and that the legal basis for the Covid-19 law will be lifted anyway. Yet the movement argues that defending such a referendum is a ‘smaller piece of a bigger puzzle’, namely to prevent the government from imposing strict rules in emergency situations in the future.