Switzerland goes to the polls on Sunday in a series of referendums that might result in the country being just the second in the world to outlaw synthetic pesticides.
Laws to prevent terrorism, reduce CO2 emissions, and offer emergency assistance The financing for COVID-19 is also subject to binding votes under the Swiss system of direct democracy.
One initiative aims to prohibit the use of artificial pesticides within 10 years. Globally only Bhutan bans the chemicals.
“It’s vital that we stop the use of pesticides which are causing serious health problems for people today and storing up problems for the future,” said Antoinette Gilson, a co-author of the Pesticides Initiative.
Manufacturers say their pesticides are rigorously tested and regulated, and crop yields would slump without them.
Many farmers argue that a prohibition would raise food costs, eliminate employment, and increase food imports.
In addition, voters decide on a second Drinking Water proposal, which claims that manmade pesticides pollute Switzerland’s water. It intends to divert subsidies to farmers who do not get them.
In an exceptionally tense campaign, supporters received death threats, while farmers complained of being under siege by city inhabitants who don’t understand their way of life.
If accepted, the measures would modify the constitution while the administration develops implementation legislation for the legislature to consider.
Voters will decide on a new law which aims to further cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions via measures like increasing the surcharge on car fuel and putting a levy on flight tickets.
Opponents say the law will increase business costs and not help the environment as the country is responsible for only 0.1% of global carbon emissions.
A law giving police new powers to fight terrorism faces a vote. The legislation makes it easier for police to monitor and restrict the movement of potential offenders, with restraining orders and travel bans possible for suspects as young as 12.
The government claims the regulations would prevent terrorist attacks, but critics argue they risk endangering children and subjecting individuals to torture in other countries.
A interim COVID-19 statute, which opponents claim did not get adequate public input before to its implementation last year, requires voter approval.
The law allots 35 billion Swiss francs ($39 billion) to short-term job programmes, hard-hit businesses like as restaurants and hotels, and culture, sport, and media.
($1 0.8968 Swiss francs)