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Parties take stands on referendum questions

All of Switzerland’s four main political parties have now staked out their respective positions on issues making the ballot on a national vote to be held on March 7.

Delegates from the rightwing Swiss People’s Party and the centre-right Radical Party held meetings over the weekend; the centre-left Social Democrats adopted their positions in December and the centre-right Christian Democrats last weekend.

Delegates from the People’s Party on Saturday voted to oppose an article regarding studies involving medical patients.

Under the constitutional amendment, which the Radicals, Christian Democrats and Social Democrats are backing, people unable to make decisions, such as Alzheimer’s patients, could be enrolled in research programmes under the approval of a guardian. Individual studies would have to be sanctioned by a cantonal ethics board.

Meeting in Bern, the Radicals unanimously approved a position to support lowering the minimum rate payout rate by company pensions to retirees to 6.4 per cent of their retirement account balance.

Interior Minister Didier Burkhalter, a Radical, said the measure was important to keep the second pillar of Switzerland’s so-called “three pillar” social security scheme financially in balance.

The People’s Party and Radicals joined the Christian Democrats in opposing the creation of legal advocates for animals in the country’s 26 cantons; the Social Democrats are the only major party to support the proposed amendment.

People’s Party president Toni Brunner also said the party would next week begin collecting signatures for the popular election of cabinet ministers. The seven-member body, which Brunner called a security risk to the country, is currently elected by parliament.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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