Switzerland, home of direct democracy, held five referendums on legislation or popular initiatives on Sunday.
1. Initiative: No statute of limitation in prosecution of child rapists (there was a 15-year timeframe to prosecute child rapists, the proposition would make prosecution of child rapists permanent). The Federal Council and Federal Assembly opposed the initiative as did most parties except the right-wing SVP and Federal Democratic Union.
2. Initiative: Legalization of Cannabis – acquisition, possession and growing of Cannabis would be allowed in small amounts for personal purposes, while the state would regulate the trade and growing of Cannabis. The Federal Council and Federal Assembly opposed the initiative as did most parties except small left-wing parties and the youth wing of the liberal FDP.
3. The Swiss parliament revised the law on illegal substances in March 2008. It provided for a statutory basis for the Swiss strategy against illegal drugs, which consists of four pillars: prevention, harm reduction, therapy and repression. The revision allowed for a continuation of the governmental distribution of heroin to heavily addicted persons. Conservative politicians from the SVP and Federal Democratic Union opposed to the law (and favoring strict prohibition) collected enough signatures to subject it to a referendum. The current law of distribution of heroin to patients is adopted.
4. Initiative: Elimination of the right of legal remedy for environmentalist groups for building contracts approved by the Swiss Parliament or the voters.
5. Initiative: Lowering of the retirement age from 65 (men) and 64 (women) to 62 years.