Recall system wins ground in Switzerland

Keystone / Steffen Schmidt

Canton Aargau has decided to extend the recall right to members of the government and parliament.

This content was published on May 15, 2022 - 14:11

An initiative launched in 2019 by the former Conservative Democratic Party (now merged with the Christian Democrats to form The Centre) won 84.3% of votes in a ballot on Sunday, according to official results.External link

Under current law, only members of local authorities can be forced to leave their posts if found guilty of neglect of duties or if subject to a criminal investigation for a suspected major crime committed in office.

The cantonal government and a majority of the parliament recommended approval of the initiative.

Aargau is the tenth canton to introduce a recall mechanism. Last November, Geneva approved a similar reform.

The recall system at cantonal level has existed in Switzerland since 1848 but it has rarely been used and it varies considerably from canton to canton.

As a rule, cases involving politicians’ incompetence or corruption are resolved mainly through legal means, media pressure or internal reorganisation, according to political scientists.

Aargau is among the top four most populous of the 26 cantons and is situated between Zurich and Basel.

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