• Politics

Second Gotthard tunnel on the way, “­marriage ­penalty” retained

17.03.2016 – Barbara Engel

There were no surprises amongst the other referenda on 28 February. The result of the vote on the marriage penalty was nevertheless tight.

57 % voted in favour of the proposal permitting the construction of a second road tunnel at the Gotthard. This should soften the impact of the renovation of the existing tunnel. Supporters of the initiative – with Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard at the forefront – played up the importance of security and national cohesion during the referendum campaign. Opponents highlighted the high costs and the fact that the second tunnel would increase road capacity enormously, hampering road-­­­to-rail transfer and leading to the use of two lanes in two tunnels in future in an extreme scenario. On the evening of the referendum Federal Councillor Leuthard gave assurances that this would not happen  as the protection of the Alps was enshrined in the federal constitution.

The CVP and the definition of marriage

The CVP’s initiative on the abolition of the “marriage penalty” – officially known as “for marriage and families” – was rejected but just 50.8?% voted no. This is despite the fact that the Federal Supreme Court declared fiscally disadvantaging married couples to be unconstitutional in 1984. Opponents warned of high costs during the referendum campaign and demonstrated that the “marriage penalty” only affects high earning married couples. They also used the definition of marriage as a permanent “union of man and woman” as a further reason for rejecting the proposal. Opponents argued that this definition contradicted efforts to open up marriage to same-sex couples. 

Resounding rejection of Young Socialists’ initiative

Speculation on the rise and fall of food prices will not be prohibited in Switzerland. The “no speculation on food” initiative was clearly rejected – with 59.9 % opposed – as expected. 40 % voting in favour is nevertheless a respectable achievement from the perspective of those on the left and the Greens.