New Geneva Green Party candidates must be publicly vegetarian after vote

New Geneva Green Party candidates must be publicly vegetarian after vote

The Geneva branch of the Green Party of Switzerland has approved a rule that would require all new candidates put forward by the group to be publicly vegetarian. The policy has split the party, with some calling the move a “religious injunction.”

Genevan Green candidates would only be allowed to eat meat at home

On May 21, the Greens voted on a charter that would require new Green candidates for the Geneva cantonal parliament, and Green Genevan representatives in the Council of States, to forgo meat in public life. The text states, “If I am elected to the Grand Council [or Council of States], I will undertake to adopt a minimum vegetarian diet during plenary meetings, working sessions, official meals or any other event where I will be required to go in my capacity as a deputy of the Greens.”

The rule was passed by 53 votes to 45, with 16 abstentions, although a new vote is expected on June 11. A similar bill, which would have prohibited the consumption of alcohol under similar rules, was flatly rejected. It comes as more and more international companies and political parties call for a reduction in the consumption of or elimination of meat from the Swiss diet, in order to combat climate change.

Vegetarian politician rule divides Green Party of Switzerland

Green Grand Councillor François Lefort called the idea a "religious injunction" and joked that he was “curious to see how the party is going to enforce this ban. With courts of just cause, perhaps?” Grand Councillor Christian Bavarel noted that along with being highly intrusive, he feared the policy amounted to "a declaration of war against local [meat] producers."

However, the move is not without its supporters, with Green Councillor Mark Bjertnes making the point that it made the party more credible in its desire to fight climate change. “We cannot ask people to eat less meat and have elected officials who gorge themselves on barbecue,” he said.

Green MP for Geneva Sophie Desbiolles defended the action, stating, “The [Greens] have chosen to act responsibly in the face of the climate emergency and the collapse of biodiversity. I am very proud to be a Green and thank them." 

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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