The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Switzerland Does Not Introduce a Second National Holiday

The Swiss government has rejected a motion to make September 12th a national holiday. The motion proposed to make the anniversary of the first Swiss Federal Constitution of 1848 a day off work. The Ständerat, the upper house of the Swiss Parliament, rejected the motion without opposition. The Nationalrat, the lower house, had approved the motion in May with 94 votes in favour and 82 against. The date of September 12th is not widely celebrated in Switzerland, and the motion was proposed by Heinz Siegenthaler of the Berner Mitte-Nationalrat in order to commemorate the establishment of the first democracy in Europe since ancient times. The Staatspolitische Kommission of the Ständerat recommended the motion be rejected, citing potential economic costs and suggesting other activities to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the Federal Constitution. The 1st of August is already a national holiday in Switzerland, having been approved in a 1993 referendum with 83.8% of the vote. This date marks the founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1291. Hans Stöckli of the SP/BE argued that a new holiday could not be imposed from above, and that the need for it must come from the people.


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