Swiss voters again ‘historic’ proposal to spice up pension funds | EUROtoday

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Swiss voters on Sunday overwhelmingly backed a proposal to extend pension funds, a transfer hailed as “historic” by backers at a time when the nation’s ageing inhabitants faces surging residing bills.

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A name by commerce unions so as to add a thirteenth month-to-month pension cost annually secured practically 60 p.c backing, last outcomes confirmed.

But a separate vote to lift Switzerland’s retirement age to 66 from 65 was soundly rejected by three-quarters of voters.

“This is historic,” Pierre-Yves Maillard, head of the Swiss Trade Union Federation (SGB), informed AFP.

Switzerland’s Greens Party celebrated a “significant victory… for the many retirees who will see their situations improve”.

While opinion polls had indicated sturdy fashionable assist for the “Better living in retirement” proposal, suspense had lingered on whether or not it could safe the mandatory majorities in most of Switzerland’s 26 cantons.

But ultimately, the initiative gained the double-majority wanted to move, with backing from 58.24 p.c of voters and 16 cantons.

Support soared above 70 p.c in six cantons, together with over 82 p.c within the western Jura area.

‘Soaring’ prices

Sunday’s vote marks the primary time that Swiss voters have accepted a preferred proposal to change the nation’s social safety system, based on the ATS-Keystone information company.

It can be the primary time Swiss commerce unions have succeeded in pushing by means of an initiative on the polls below the nation’s direct democratic system.

The initiative requires pensioners to obtain a further month-to-month cost, just like the thirteenth month-to-month wage that many workers obtain in Switzerland and different European nations.

Monthly state pension funds in Switzerland max out at 2,450 Swiss francs ($2,780) for people and three,675 francs for married {couples}.

That doesn’t go far in a rustic constantly ranked among the many most costly on this planet.

Rent for a typical two-bedroom house in Swiss cities is at the least 3,000 francs, and a espresso prices upwards of 5 francs ($5.66).

“The cost of living just keeps soaring,” stated Jakob Hauri, a retiree quoted by the initiative backers on their web site.

‘Price to pay’

Left-leaning events supported the initiative, which was fiercely fought by right-wing and centrist events in addition to the Swiss authorities and parliament.

The authorities stated the pension enhance would price greater than 4 billion Swiss francs a yr, which might require tax will increase and will threaten the monetary stability of the social safety system.

But Interior Minister Elisabeth Baume-Schneider took Sunday’s loss in stride, saying that “democracy is alive and kicking in Switzerland”.

“The government has provided all the elements and the arguments,” she informed the RTS public broadcaster.

But “there will be a price to pay,” she stated, including that the federal government and parliament would work on a proposal to make sure pensioners might obtain the additional cost beginning in 2026.

The SGB union federation stated that Sunday’s vote outcomes “clearly show that the government, a majority of the parliament and employers have for too long ignored the pension problem”.

“We are lucky to have a direct democracy that allows us to correct that,” Maillard stated.

Retirement age unchanged

A second problem on the poll Sunday in search of to lift the retirement age was soundly rejected.

A full 74.72 p.c of voters turned down the proposal by the youth department of the right-wing Liberal Party to steadily increase the retirement age from 65 to 66 over the subsequent decade, a moved geared toward making certain full financing of the pension system.

A majority of voters in each Swiss canton rejected the proposal, which got here lower than two years after voters narrowly opted to lift the retirement age for girls to 65 from 64, to match the retirement age for males.

Voter participation is mostly low in Switzerland’s fashionable votes, that are held each few months, and infrequently inches above 50 p.c.

But Sunday’s points sparked heated debate and participation reached greater than 58 p.c.