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Bid to make people’s initiatives stricter

A move to make people’s initiatives conform to wider human rights law has been narrowly approved by parliament.

The Senate followed the House of Representatives in backing the cabinet’s proposal, voting 21 to 20 in favour on Wednesday.

People’s initiatives allow for any Swiss citizen to put forward a proposal to amend the constitution. It can go to a nationwide vote if 100,000 signatures are gathered in favour of the amendment within 18 months.

The government’s proposal, which would require a change to the constitution, involves expanding the criteria by which parliament can reject an initiative. Recent initiatives such as the ban on building minarets have been criticised as breaching human rights.

Current initiatives only need to comply with mandatory rules of international law. This proposal called for initiatives to also respect basic constitutional rights as well as rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives also agreed checks on the validity of initiatives needed to be done before signatures were collected.  

The issue will now go to a public vote.  

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR