Cantonal vote also rejects education initiative
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – A low turnout of voters in canton Vaud, 40 percent, Sunday 4 September rejected a proposal to give long-term foreign residents the right to vote, with 69 percent saying no to the initiative that was supported by the political left. If the measure had passed Vaud would have been the first canton to extend voting in communes to the cantonal level.
Voters rejected some changes to the education system in favour of a counter-proposal that will stream weaker students in with general courses starting in 2013 and that will notably require all students to study English and German, starting earlier than they currently do.
Voting linked to citizenship duties
The proposal would have allowed foreigners resident in Switzerland for at least 10 years, with three of those in the canton, to elect officials and vote on issues at the cantonal level.
Swissinfo cites Philippe Leuba, head of the Vaud cantonal interior office, as saying “the vote could not be interpreted as a rejection of foreigners”.
The government, encouraging long-term foreigners to become Swiss, had recommended before the vote that citizens oppose it, saying it is wrong for foreigners to separate the right to vote from the broader responsibilities that go with citizenship.
Secondary students to be grouped by ability for mathematics, languages
Voters also rejected an initiative called “School 2010: save the schools” but accepted a counter-initiative called Leo, proposed by cantonal authorities. Leo calls for a much-debated part of the secondary system to disappear, the options programme for weaker students starting in year 7, who will be streamed in with general classes starting in 2013.
Leo will also require all students to study German and English, starting at an earlier age. They will be grouped by ability for mathematics, French and German.