There is a lot of democracy in Switzerland. In addition to national federal elections every four years citizens get to vote on a number of federal referenda four times a year. There are also cantonal elections and referenda along with voting at a municipal level. With all of this voting, an extra day off to recuperate feels defensible. This week, a majority of the National Council, Switzerland’s parliament, voted in favour of an extra holiday every 12 September to celebrate democracy, reported RTS.
Parliament voted 94 versus 82 in favour of the new public holiday every 12 September, an idea that had been rejected by the Federal Council, Switzerland’s 7-member executive. The Federal Council argued the national celebration on 1 August, which celebrates the founding of Switzerland, is sufficient.
Announcing the Federal Council’s opposition to the new public holiday, Elisabeth Baume-Schneider pointed out several government buildings, including the parliament, will be opened to the public on 1 and 2 July 2023 as part of the celebration of the 175 anniversary of Switzerland’s federal constitution. It’s possible to celebrate without an extra public holiday, said Baume-Schneider.
On 12 September 1848 Switzerland’s current federal constitution and structure was introduced with its 200 member National Council (parliament), 46 member Council of States (upper house) and Federal Council (executive). The National Council represents the voting public and the Council of States represent Switzerland’s 20 cantons and 6 half cantons – full cantons have two seats and half cantons one seat.
The possibility of an extra public holiday will now be voted on by the Council of States.