This week, the Federal Council launched its campaign against a vote on 28 November 2021 to move to a system where Switzerland’s judges would be selected by lottery.
The proposed system would involve randomly selecting judges from a preselected pool of qualified people. Currently, Swiss judges are elected by the Federal Assembly, the combination of parliament and the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house.
Under the proposed new system, a preselected pool of judges would be chosen by an independent commission created by the Federal Council and not, as is the case today, by the judicial commission.
The initiators of the vote argue that the election of judges by the Federal Assembly affects judicial independence.
This week, the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive, announced that it is against the plan because it would replace a democratic process with a lottery in which chance decides.
The Federal Council’s position is in line with parliament, which voted 191 to 1 against (4 abstentions) the initiative, and the Council of States where it was rejected by 44 to 0 votes.