Affordable housing

gentrification How pension payments are making Swiss housing unaffordable

Under pressure to invest, Swiss pension funds plough money into real estate. But renters are now fighting back with direct democracy.

Living in Switzerland (5 of 5) Cooperative living: a hip alternative for the Swiss

For residents of the Hunziker housing cooperative outside Zurich, sharing space and resources is more than efficiency – it is about community.

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Sexual orientation discrimination

LGBTIQ rights Why one party is opposing the criminalisation of homophobia

Last year, parliament approved legislation to criminalise homophobia. Now, a small conservative party wants to launch a referendum against it.

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About 5.4 million citizens, including registered members of the expatriate Swiss community, are eligible to take part in the February 9 ballots.

Votes on a broad range of issues, as well as elections, also take place in many cantons and municipalities across the country.

It is the first of up to four sets of nationwide votes this year.

Visual data

Explore 600 national votes How direct democracy has grown over the decades

The number of issues put to vote has increased considerably since the 1970s. The graphics present more than 600 nationwide votes since 1848.

Direct democracy What’s a people’s or citizens’ initiative?

Swiss citizens can either propose legislation of their own, or work to defeat legislation already approved by parliament.

Direct democracy What’s a referendum?

Switzerland gives its citizens the chance to play a direct part in political decision-making. Although direct democracy is not unique to ...