Family taxation, the electoral system and abortion costs have been added to the political agenda in Bern, with the launch of three people’s initiatives on Tuesday.
The backers have until July 2011 to collect the necessary 100,000 signatures per initiative to force a national vote on the issues involved.
The rightwing Swiss People’s Party has put forward two of the initiatives – on equal taxation for stay-at-home parents and the election of members of cabinet by popular vote. The party’s members are also involved in the third initiative which proposes to make abortion costs non-reclaimable through health insurers.
The tax initiative aims to extend tax deductions on childcare expenses, currently only granted to parents who avail of paid childcare, to all families – including those who care for their own children full-time.
The cabinet initiative invites a break with tradition. Seats in the seven-member government are currently allocated according to the electoral strength of the four main political parties, with individual candidates voted in by parliament.
The People’s Party is seeking a change to this system, replacing it with a cabinet election every four years to be held alongside general elections.
The third people’s initiative also has backers from the centre-right Christian Democrats. Its goal is to remove abortion from the list of refundable medical procedures covered by compulsory health insurance and make the financing of abortion a “private matter”.
swissinfo.ch and agencies