Pension reform and VAT fail at ballot box
The government has been saved a confusing result at nationwide votes – even if it’s one they don’t want.
Voters clearly rejected a VAT increase and pension reforms.
The two votes were linked, an increase in VAT would have been used to fund pensions. If one had passed and the other failed – the government would have faced a problem.
In the end, both failed. The government wanted to change pension regulations regarding assets and would have boosted payments by CHF 70 a month. In addition the retirement age for women would have been lifted by a year to 65 – to match men.
It’s the third time in the last 20 years the government has tried to change pensions. The country is facing a demographic time bomb due to an aging population.
Voters said no to the change by 52.7%.
The VAT rate was much closer at 50/50 on the popular vote – but it also needed a majority of the cantons to agree – and on that, it failed miserably. 13 cantons rejected the measure.
In other votes,
Zurich has decided to cut payments to temporary asylum seekers. They will not be able to claim social security anymore – and will only be entitled to emergency payments.
This will mean in practice, their pay will but cut from around CHF 900 a month to CHF 600.
Those affected have had permission to stay in Switzerland denied – but it’s considered too dangerous to send them home at the moment. Most are from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The vote is a result of an initiative launched by the right wing Swiss People’s Party.
In Geneva, voters gave a resounding yes to make it easier to take an issue to the vote. 63% agreed it will now take 4% of voters to sign a petition to bring an initiative – down from 5% - to the people. And only 2%, down from 3, to trigger a referendum.