Swiss Basic Income: Crunching the numbers
The preliminary polls are in for all Cantons (states) in Switzerland. As many already know, the referendum did not pass, with only about 23% of voters in favor of it.
From the website for the Swiss Federal Council
%-Yes Vote for Basic Income ; Average: 23.1 %
These are the provisional results on election day this Sunday. The final results will be in after validation by the Federal Council—a good 2 months after the vote – and the final results may differ slightly from the provisional results.
Note: population numbers multiplied by 1000
According to statistics reported on PolitNetz.com, a platform that claims to provide politically independent information, all five major Swiss parties recommended a “NO” vote on the referendum.
The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SRG) unofficially polled prospective voters in April, and the results looked slightly better than the results today:
According to the Swiss government portal (www.ch.ch), a “referendum allows the people to alter the text of the constitution” to reflect changes they wish to make to the law. Within an 18 month period, 100,000 signatures must be collected in support of the referendum for it to be considered. The referendum then has to pass with both a popular majority and a majority of the cantons, for it to become the law. But even then, the government reserves the right to alter the text to suit their interpretation of it.
The Universal Basic Income initiative would have amended the Swiss Federal Constitution to read as follows:
Art. 110a (new) unconditional basic income:
- The Confederation shall ensure the introduction of an unconditional basic income;
- The basic income to enable the entire population a dignified existence and participation in public life;
- The law regulates in particular the financing and the amount of the basic income.
Although, the results are not a total surprise for the Swiss, in whom it is still deeply ingrained that work is tied to income, Swiss media outlets are already speculating as to the reasons for this massive blow to the referendum. Some are saying that even the Swiss Social Democratic Party, that has been favorable towards the general idea of a basic income, feared that the text was “too vague” and all social benefits would be scrapped at once, leaving the most vulnerable even more so.
Despite the apparent “slap in the face”, many Universal Basic Income supporters see these results as very positive! Co-initiator of the Referendum, Daniel Häni reports that he’s happy with the results, “I would have only expected 15 percent approval. It is amazing and sensational that we are now at more than 20 percent.”