On 13 February 2022, Swiss voters voted on four federal initiatives on animal testing, stamp duty, tobacco advertising and government support for media.
A majority (79.08%) of Swiss voters rejected a ban on animal testing, a government plan to remove investment stamp duty (62.67% against) and government support for Swiss media (54.56% against). The only initiative achieving a “yes” result (56.61% for) was the proposal to ban tobacco advertising that can be seen by young people.
The proposal to restrict tobacco advertising found majorities in 16 out of 26 cantons. Alain Berset, Switzerland’s health minister said the plan should be implemented as quickly as possible. The 10 cantons with majorities against it are all in German-speaking Switzerland, and with the exception of Luzern, fairly rural. Voters in Italian-speaking and French-speaking Switzerland, where smoking rates are highest, were more in favour of the advertising ban. Nearly three quarters (74.8%) of voters in Geneva were in favour of it. Basel-City had the highest percentage (64.6%) in favour of the plan in German-speaking Switzerland.
The vote to ban animal and human testing was resoundingly rejected. Not a single canton came out in favour of it. Cantonal results ranged from 68.53% in Ticino to 83.21% in Nidwalden.
Ueli Maurer, Switzerland’s finance minister, was disappointed by the failure of the government’s plan to remove stamp duty to pass. This unusual tax that penalises investment in Swiss companies was aimed at lessening the sting of pending hikes in Swiss company tax rates following an OECD plan to impose a minimum global corporate tax rate. While the failure is not dire, it does not send a good message given the imminent tax plan cooked up by the OECD, said the minister. The OECD tax rules are going to have a profound impact on the Swiss financial marketplace. We must not lose sight of the big picture, he said.
The government’s plan to support Swiss media divided the nation. Most French-speaking cantons came out in favour of it while all of the German-speaking cantons, with the exception of Uri where 50.5% favoured it, were against it. The vote found majorities in Geneva (56.8%), Vaud (57.1%), Fribourg (57.4%), Neuchâtel (63.1%) and Jura (64.9%).