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Swiss Law First Initiative Swiss media: ‘No’ vote shows faith in national institutions

Swiss newspapers

Swiss media breathes a collective sigh of relief after voters reject the controversial "Swiss Law First" initiative.


The Swiss press has interpreted the "no" vote on the ‘Swiss law first’ initiative on Sunday as a sign of confidence in existing institutions and as a rejection of a misleading and radical proposal presented by the conservative right Swiss People’s Party.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

 "There is a lot of relief - in politics, business and civil society. The electorate has flatly rejected the initiative, thus fending off another attack by the [Swiss People’s Party] on institutions. Reason has triumphed. In the wake of an emotionally driven voting battle, this was not a foregone conclusion. Proponents had promised heaven on earth with the self-determination initiative: strengthening direct democracy, persistently low taxes, staying out of the EU. (...) But the electorate was neither blinded by false promises nor convinced by radical false solutions. (...) With the "no" to the self-determination initiative, a rather unsuitable solution for regulating the relationship between national law and international law is off the table. But the question of how a direct democracy country like Switzerland will deal with the constantly growing international law in future will continue to occupy politicians.”


"The clear failure of the [‘Swiss law first’] initiative is a good sign for direct democracy… By clearly rejecting the self-determination initiative, the people are expressing their confidence in the institutions that have the power to implement such as the the parliament and the Federal Council, which implement referendums and the courts, which interpret them and, if necessary, weigh them up against other legal interests. (...) The atmosphere is more relaxed now so parliament and the administration think about a more stringent handling of international legal provisions, this can only benefit the system. (...) However, yesterday's verdict does not resolve the core issue: that international interdependence restricts national democracy and thus our self-determination." 


"The [Swiss People’s Party]  initiative was superfluous. All the international agreements of the Swiss Confederation are democratically legitimized. Switzerland benefits from this, otherwise it would have neither negotiated nor signed them. And even if they sometimes conflict with Swiss law - which rarely happens - a solution can always be found without everything having to be renounced immediately. (...) What can the [Swiss People’s Party]  learn from this? The voters are not stupid enough to swallow every bait they get."

CH Media

The "no" to the ‘Swiss law first’ initiative is not a free pass for supporters of the (EU) framework agreement. It was simply too radical. However, the people will be able to express their views on the framework agreement anyway. And that's a good thing."

Der Bund

"Switzerland first? Rather not, finds the majority of voters. The clear no to the ‘Swiss law first’ initiative is an achievement. Whether in the United States or Great Britain, in Italy, Hungary, Poland or Romania: In today's closely interconnected world, the growing desire for control and self-determination makes us vulnerable to national upheavals, bold solo attempts and the demonisation of superordinate law. This is not the case in Switzerland, where the prevailing view is that it is pointless for a small country to want to enforce its own rules as a matter of principle in its relations with other states. The comfortably modest and realistic Swiss. (...) in conflicts between Swiss law and 'foreign judges,' the key is to evaluate the various interests wisely."

Le Temps

"The interaction between national decisions and international rules requires constant consideration. The [Swiss People’s Party]  initiative claimed to be able to overcome this complicated process by unilaterally establishing the superiority of one norm over another. The simplicity of the solution was mainly to interpret one's own initiatives literally, which would have upgraded the party to a kind of supreme legislator. But the Swiss had the wisdom not to be deceived."


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