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statistics spat Christian Democrats demand re-run of marriage vote

wedding cake

Happily married? Not so, says the Christian Democratic party.

(Keystone)

The Christian Democratic party has announced it is seeking a re-run of a 2016 national vote that narrowly rejected the idea of a tax break for married couples. The government’s campaign was based on false statistics, it says.

The original people’s initiative, which was backed by the centrist Christian Democrats and which sought to reduce the tax burden for married (heterosexual) couples, was rejected by 50.8% of the Swiss population in February 2016.

+ The results of the 2016 vote “For marriage and family – against the marriage penalty”

Over two years later, however, the party is appealing the result on the grounds that the Swiss government’s statistics showing the number of couples that would have been affected were wrong.

Indeed, it says, on June 15 the Federal Council admitted that instead of the 80,000 married and registered couples that they said were in line to receive the tax break, it was rather 454,000 couples.

This amounts to “almost a million people, or one-eighth of the Swiss population,” the Christian Democrats said on Monday in a statement. Had the correct stats been available at the time, it claims that “the initiative would have been accepted”.

It is demanding a re-run of the vote and has lodged official appeals in eight cantons: Aargau, Bern, Basel Country, Solothurn, Vaud, Valais, Zug, and Zurich.

The cantons have ten days to give their response; if they refuse the request, the Christian Democrats could take their case to the Federal Court. Such a re-run of a national vote would be a first in Swiss history.

SDA-ATS/dos

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