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Square one Controversial initiative on married couples’ tax equality withdrawn


Proponents will have to start from scratch and collect the 100,000 signatures needed relaunch the revised initiative. 

(© Keystone / Gaetan Bally)

Proponents of a people’s initiative that seeks equal tax treatment for married and unmarried couples have withdrawn it in favour of relaunching a more gay-friendly version. 

The formality, which was communicated to the governing Federal Council on Wednesday, was already announced last month by the Christian Democratic Party who were behind it. The initiative sought to prevent penalising a significant number of married couples who would pay less tax if they were taxed individually instead of as a unit.  

The withdrawal of the text was a result of change of heart by Christian Democrats over the definition of marriage. The new text will also aim to end tax discrimination against married couples but will no longer define the institution as the lasting union of a man and a woman.  

According to party’s president Gerhard Pfister, the text should benefit all married couples and people living in registered partnership, therefore also gay couples. 

In 2016, the initiative was put to a national vote and failed by a slim majority. However, the Federal Court ordered a re-vote as information regarding the number of beneficiaries presented by the government was found to be inaccurate.  

It was the first time in recent Swiss history that the Federal Court ordered an annulment of a nationwide vote result. A re-vote was expected this year no later than September. Instead, proponents will have to start from scratch and collect the 100,000 signatures needed relaunch the revised initiative. 

Ballot counting Swiss government guilty of repeated miscalculation

For the first time in history, voters may have go back to the polls at the national level to decide for a second time on the same people’s initiative.


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