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13th AHV pension accepted by 58 percent according to projections

The popular initiative for a 13th AHV pension is likely to receive a Yes vote. According to the SRG projection, the popular initiative will be accepted with a popular majority of 58%. The majority of the cantons is also very likely to be achieved.

The error range of the projection is plus/minus three percentage points. Urs Bieri from gfs.bern spoke of a "small landslide" on SRF radio on Sunday. Social issues raised by the left are discussed differently today than they used to be. He also spoke of the population's resentment towards economic escapades.

Yes camp always in front

Trade unions and left-wing parties are behind the popular initiative "For a better life in old age (initiative for a 13th AHV pension)". It calls for thirteen AHV pensions to be paid from 2026 instead of twelve. A yes vote has become apparent.

Despite losses in recent weeks, the supporters' camp was always larger than that of the opponents in the polls. In the SRG survey from mid-February, the initiative would have achieved a popular majority with 53% in favor. The survey by "20 Minuten"/Tamedia came to 59 percent in favor. However, the majority of the cantons for the 13th AHV pension was not certain.

8.3 percent more from the AHV

Specifically, all retirees would be entitled to a supplement amounting to one twelfth of their annual pension, which would be 8.3% higher than today. Anyone already drawing an AHV pension would receive the supplement from the start of 2026 at the latest.

The Federal Council and Parliament will now have to think about how the "thirteenth" in the AHV is to be financed. Opinions differ as to what will be necessary.

The proponents believe that the 13th AHV pension can be paid until around 2030 without additional funding. After that, salary contributions of 0.4 percent each for employees and employers would be sufficient to pay the higher pensions. The AHV is financially better off than the opponents predict.

Opponents - and with them the Federal Council - believe that additional funding is needed immediately. The 13th AHV pension would have to be financed through higher salary contributions, an increase in VAT or - due to the higher federal contribution - with tax revenue.

Historical yes

The Federal Council claimed that the increase in AHV pensions would already cost an additional CHF 4.1 billion in the year of introduction. Around five years later, it would already cost CHF 5 billion due to the rising number of pensioners - in addition to the forecast contribution deficit of CHF 4.7 billion.

The Yes vote is historic: never before has a popular initiative been used to approve an expansion of the AHV. The referendum campaign was emotional. Every vote was fought for until the very end. Around CHF 6 million was budgeted for campaigning; the "no" camp had clearly spent more than the "yes" side. Several former Federal Councillors were involved with both opponents and supporters.

Different as "AHVplus"

The initiative for a 13th AHV pension therefore fared differently to the popular initiative "AHVplus: for a strong AHV", which was rejected in September 2016. It called for a ten percent increase in pensions, but was voted on under different circumstances.

According to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), inflation was negative in 2016. However, supporters of the 13th AHV pension now cite higher costs due to rising prices, rents and health insurance premiums. Inflation and premium increases would have eroded one monthly pension since 2021.

The next referendum campaign on pension provision is likely to begin soon. This is because the occupational pension reform, which was opposed by the left, is expected to be voted on in the fall. Among other things, it will result in a lower conversion rate for calculating pensions and compensation for transitional age groups.

However, Parliament has far undercut the compromise negotiated by the social partners and has thus brought about a referendum.

©Keystone/SDA

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