2020 Swiss referendums

Several federal referendums will be held in Switzerland in 2020, with voting on 9 February, 27 September and 29 November.[1] Voting was also planned for 27 May, but was postponed due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

February referendumsEdit

Two referendums will be held on 9 February, with voters asked whether they approve of a popular initiative to increase affordable housing by promoting housing cooperatives, and an optional referendum on whether legislation preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation should be overturned or retained.[2]

The affordable housing initiative – to require 10% of new flats to be owned by housing cooperatives and abolish government subsidies for renovating luxury flats – was put forward by the national alliance of tenants' association and supported by left-leaning parties, and was approved after 106,000 signatures were submitted.[3] The vote on the anti-homophobia legislation was forced by the Federal Democratic Union and the youth wing of the Swiss People's Party (Young SVP) after the legislation was approved in December 2018.[4][5] A December 2019 opinion poll showed support for the affordable housing at 66% with 30% against, while overturning the anti-discrimination legislation had the support of only 28% of voters, with 69% against.[4]

The affordable housing proposal was rejected by 57% of voters, although more than 60% voted in favour in Basel and Geneva, areas more affected by the lack of affordable housing.[6] The anti-discrimination legislation was approved by 63% of voters, with the strongest support in the canton of Vaud.[7][8]

Question For Against Invalid/
Turnout Cantons for Cantons against Result
Votes % Votes % Full Half Full Half
Affordable housing 963,610 42.9 1,280,148 57.1 41.0 4 1 16 5 Rejected
Retaining anti-discrimination legislation 1,413,609 63.1 827,361 36.9 40.9 Approved
Source: Federal Chancellery, Federal Chancellery

May referendumsEdit

Three referendums were planned for May; one on the "For moderate immigration (limitation initiative)" popular initiative; one on a 2019 amendment of the federal Law on Hunting; and one on the 2019 amendment of the Federal Law on Federal Direct Tax regarding tax deductions for childcare expenses. However, on 18 March 2020, the Federal Council decided to postpone the federal referendums planned for 17 May due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the first cancellation of a federal referendum since 1951 (when polling was postponed due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease).[9]


  1. ^ Dates des votations des 20 prochaines années Federal Chancellery
  2. ^ Vote February 9, 2020 SwissInfo
  3. ^ Tenants force vote to curb pricey rents SwissInfo, 18 October 2016
  4. ^ a b Poll finds tighter anti-homophobia rules have broad support SwissInfo, 20 December 2019
  5. ^ Why one party is opposing the criminalisation of homophobia SwissInfo, 10 January 2019
  6. ^ Voters reject ‘affordable housing’ initiative SwissInfo, 9 February 2020
  7. ^ Swiss roundly back protection against LGB discrimination SwissInfo, 9 February 2020
  8. ^ Oltermann, Philip (February 9, 2020). "Swiss vote to approve legislation to protect LGBTQ+ rights". The Guardian.
  9. ^ "Coronavirus : La votation populaire fédérale du 17 mai 2020 n’aura pas lieu " Federal Council, 18 March 2020