Democracy: Bern is already awash in popular initiatives

PostedAugust 8, 2022, 8:41 PM

DemocracyBern is already awash in popular initiatives

Election year 2023 obliges, the parties and other groups use popular initiatives with all their might. Eleven texts have already been launched this year. And it’s not over.

Many initiatives have already been tabled in Bern since the beginning of the year.

20 minutes/Simon Glauser

Initiative on nurseries, for citizen service, against the import of foie gras, to limit fireworks, on the SSR fee, on the ban on importing animal furs, so that the profits of the SNB reinforce the AVS… Since the start of the year, no less than 11 texts have arrived at the Federal Chancellery in Bern. And it’s not over: several others are already in the pipeline. In all, nearly 20 grassroots initiatives could be launched this year, far more than usual.

Indeed, the “Luzerner Zeitung” recalls Monday in its columns that there are more than twice as many texts deposited this year as usual. Not surprising since 2023 is an election year. Thus in 2011 already, the record of initiatives had been beaten with 23 texts launched.

“For parties, initiatives can be a way to clearly express their concerns,” says political scientist Michael Herrmann. The SVP successfully set an example in the early 2010s, others have since tried to copy its strategy.

Catch-up effects

Another reason that explains this host of initiatives: the pandemic. “There are probably catch-up effects, because planned projects have been postponed,” explains the political scientist. Added to this is the fact that several texts come directly from the pandemic, such as the one asking for “regulated compensation in the event of an epidemic”, from GastroSuisse.

What also strikes Michael Herrmann is the range of topics covered. In the 1980s and 1990s, the initiatives came mainly from the left with great successes, he notes. But from the 2000s, more and more texts were launched by the right, in particular the UDC which was also able to celebrate several successes, while the left was exhausted due to several failures, recalls- he. Today, on the other hand, everyone draws at all costs.

It remains to be seen how many popular initiatives will succeed in collecting the necessary 100,000 signatures. On average, in recent years, barely six out of ten have succeeded, the newspaper concludes.


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