Switzerland To Let Voters Decide on Lockdown Power

The populace will choose whether their government can impose such restrictions
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2021 9:30 AM CST
Switzerland To Let Voters Decide on Lockdown Power
Students in masks to avoid the spread of the coronavirus in line Lausanne, Switzerland   (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)

(Newser) – Switzerland will hold a referendum on whether the country's government should have the power to impose lockdowns and other measures used to slow the spread of COVID in the country. Per the Wall Street Journal, the vote could be held as soon as June and comes amid disagreement over whether leaders should be allowed to regulate how the country's 8.5 million people may interact during this pandemic, and presumably similar emergencies. The movement to strip the government of such power unfolded after plans were announced last month to shut down restaurants, arenas, and other facilities in response to the ongoing crisis.

Spearheading the referendum is the organization Friends of the Constitution, which has filed a petition that has received some 90,000 signatories demanding the vote, per EuroNews. "People and companies who have been pushed to the brink by the irresponsible dictates of the Federal Council must be helped," the group said in a statement translated by EuroNews. Swiss law stipulates that any petition with more than 50,000 signatures can get a referendum. Should it go to a vote in June, the law will have already been in place for several months. Per Reuters, Swiss health authorities have reported nearly 500,000 cases and close to 8,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

(Read more Switzerland stories.)

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