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Call for “anti-covid certificate” referendum in Switzerland gets record number of signatures

Call for “anti-covid certificate” referendum in Switzerland gets record number of signatures

A petition to repeal a Swiss law allowing the issuance of COVID-certificates gathered more than 187.000 signatures in the space of four weeks - setting a new record in the country. 

Swiss law requires 50.000 voter signatures be collected within 100 days

In order to launch a referendum to repeal a law, Swiss law states that 50.000 signatures must be collected in favour of a repeal of federal law, within 100 days. According to the newspaper 20 Minutes, the anti-COVID certificate petition set a new record, and has never been achieved before, with 187.000 signatures in one month. 

Many of the signatories believe that the COVID-19 certificate being issued in Switzerland, although voluntary, discriminates against young people who have not been fully vaccinated yet, and organisers of the vote have gone so far to have likened them to the worst periods of Soviet Stalinism.

The Federal Council has already pencilled in a date for a referendum

The Federal Council has already tentatively scheduled a referendum on the subject for November 28, 2021. The next step is for the Federal Chancellery to validate the signatures, though given the level of support the petition has, this should not be an obstacle. 

Switzerland’s voluntary system provides fully-vaccinated people, or people with a negative test, the opportunity to travel and gain entry to restricted venues with forgery-proof evidence of their status. The certificates come in both digital and paper formats. The petition hopes to make these certificates illegal. 

Though the country is divided in its attitude towards the certificates, many see them as a pragmatic compromise between the economy and health security. Those who organise events in particular support the certificates, since it allows large venues to reopen, without the risk of creating “super-spreader” events.

In Switzerland, vaccination is now available to everyone 12 years old or more and is free of charge.

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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