Swiss voters back government’s Covid-19 response plan

Tally shows 62.01% of voters support law to provide aid to people hit by pandemic

People queue  to cast their ballot at a polling station  in Fribourg, Switzerland. Photograph: EPA

People queue to cast their ballot at a polling station in Fribourg, Switzerland. Photograph: EPA

 

Swiss voters on Sunday backed the government’s pandemic response plan in a referendum by a clear majority, paving the way for the continuation of exceptional measures to stem the rising tide of Covid-19 cases.

The government’s tally of Sunday’s vote showed a wider-than-expected majority of 62.01 per cent of voters supporting the law passed earlier this year to provide financial aid to people hit by the Covid-19 crisis and allowing for Covid certificates, which provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination, recovery or a negative test and which are currently required to enter bars, restaurants and certain events.

Restrictions to public life to curb coronavirus infections have sparked opposition in Switzerland, triggering a binding referendum under the country’s system of direct democracy, even as cases have risen to levels the government this week deemed “critical”.

The government has largely backed away from tightening measures despite cases approaching record highs, but on Friday and Saturday it imposed new travel restrictions to stem the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant that has sparked global concern.

A poll on November 7th found opposition to the government’s Covid-19 law had been growing, with 38 per cent saying they opposed the law.

In two other referendum votes on Sunday, early tallies showed almost 60 per cent approval for a labour union-backed proposal to support nurses while more than 68 per cent of voters rejected a proposal to select federal judges by lottery from a pool of candidates proposed by experts.

For referendum motions to be passed they must win a simple majority of the votes cast nationwide while also winning support in a majority of cantons or regions. – Reuters