Swiss Decision Day On Anti-terror, Covid And Environment
Geneva, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 10th Jun, 2021 ) :Switzerland votes Sunday on a series of hot topics: anti-terror measures, Covid-19 laws and proposals to protect the environment through banning synthetic pesticides.
Swiss voters must decide whether they approve a Covid-19 law that extends the government's powers to fight the pandemic and mitigate its consequences on society and the economy.
But the two anti-pesticide proposals have triggered the most noise and fury, in an electoral campaign marked by fiery debates between farmers.
The first popular initiative, entitled "For a Switzerland free from synthetic pesticides", calls for a domestic ban within 10 years, while imported foodstuffs produced using such pesticides would also be outlawed.
The amount of liquid manure being used on fields, and thereby potentially entering the water system, would also be limited.
Environmentalists and the political left back both initiatives.
Though urban voters are largely in favour, and rural voters seem set to vote "No", polls indicate that both proposals are likely to be rejected.
Meanwhile, 50,000 signatures are needed to trigger a referendum on new laws agreed by parliament.
Environmental protection is also at stake in a referendum on new carbon dioxide laws.
The law would use tax policy to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2030 -- including financial incentives to install charging points for electric vehicles and to market vehicles that consume less fuel.
The law's opponents say the measures will be expensive and mainly affect people on low and middle incomes.
Polls suggest the outcome hangs in the balance.
- Terror and human rights - A clear majority, however, is expected to back a new law on extending police powers to combat terrorism, despite warnings from the United Nations and Amnesty International.
If police believe that someone over the age of 12 is contemplating violent actions, the law allows them to conduct greater surveillance, limit their movements and oblige them to face questioning.
And with a court order, they can also place anyone over the age of 15 under house arrest for up to nine months.
Left-wing opponents of the law believe it endangers Switzerland's human rights heritage.
The landlocked Alpine country has so far been spared the large-scale attacks seen among its European neighbours.
The publicly-triggered referendum on Covid-19 laws seems set to pass comfortably.
Any emergency measures introduced by the government -- as with its moves to combat the pandemic -- are time-limited and therefore need firming up if they are to continue.
The laws also regulate financial aid granted to individuals and businesses, including compensation for loss of income, and support for cultural organisations.