Right launch campaign to keep greens in check

Parliamentarian, Filippo Leutenegger, at the campaign launch in Zurich Keystone

The centre-right Radical Party has launched a bid to force a nationwide vote on limiting the right of appeal against construction projects.

This content was published on November 23, 2004 - 08:51

The move follows the blocking of several large-scale building projects by environmental organisations, including a new football stadium in Zurich.

The Radical Party has begun to collect signatures for an initiative to restrict appeals that are frequently launched on grounds of planning regulations and environmental codes.

As part of its campaign, the party says a vote in favour of limiting the right to appeal would be a vote for economic growth.

The issue came to a head earlier this year when environmental groups and associations representing local residents in Zurich successfully prevented the start of construction on a new football stadium.

The stadium was seen as key if Zurich was to host some of the matches in the 2008 European Championships.

Systematically blocked

The Swiss business community has already begun voicing its objections to the number of projects being shelved due to successful appeals.

Switzerland’s largest retailer Migros said earlier this year that SFr1 billion ($860 million) of the company’s projects had been “systematically blocked” in the courts. It estimated that the cost to Swiss companies was around SFr20-25 billion.

But environmental organisations claim the Radical campaign is an infringement of the constitutional state.

“It is not parliament or voters who enforce the law but the courts who ensure if the law is applied correctly,” said ten organisations, including Greenpeace and Pro Natura, in a statement.

They said the campaign represented a large step backwards for environmental protection.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

The Radical Party has until May 16, 2005 to collect 100,000 signatures in order to force a nationwide vote on the issue.
The Radical Party has support from the Swiss People’s Party and part of the Christian Democrats.
The Social Democrats and Green Party are opposed.

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