Extraordinary process – the National Council wants to open up and is putting the Federal Council under pressure: What exactly does that mean now? Seven questions and answers


Extraordinary process

The National Council wants to open up and is putting the Federal Council under pressure: What exactly does that mean now? Seven questions and answers

With 97 to 90 votes, the National Council passed a declaration on Wednesday morning calling on the Federal Council to open up. But does this have to act now? The most important questions and answers about this extraordinary process.

Narrow yes for the explanation

It is a huge protest note: on Wednesday morning, the National Council passed a declaration calling on the Federal Council to open restaurants, fitness centers and cultural establishments as early as March 22nd. The rule of five should fall immediately; Testing and vaccination should be intensified. The protest note is just a test of strength with the handbrake on. In particular, the bourgeois parties FDP and SVP want to go further, but have little chance of success.

The highlight of the efforts of the FDP and SVP was last Friday: A majority of the national economic commission announced that they wanted to present the Federal Council with a fait accompli. You would like to write in the law that the opening must be on March 22nd. However, the proposal has a bad chance because the center party is divided: Some support the rigorous attempt to pressure the state government, others want gentle pressure – just the declaration that has now been made.

With 97 to 90 votes, the result was tight: While the SP and the Greens were closed and the GLP were largely against, there were around a handful of national councilors in the CVP and FDP who abstained or voted against. SVP and FDP were in favor. The most important questions:

The National Council approved the declaration. What does this mean?

Above all, it puts pressure on the Federal Council. The National Council wants an immediate change in strategy towards more tests, more vaccinations and more openings. For the time being, however, the explanation has no consequences. The Federal Council does not have to adhere to it. To ignore the declaration altogether would be an affront to Parliament. In December, the National Council had already passed a declaration calling on the Federal Council not to impose stricter measures in the ski areas. This demand was successful.

Why did Parliament come up with this solution?

It is an interim solution introduced by Martin Landolt (GL). This should keep the pressure high, but at the same time the Federal Council should be able to decide on the necessary measures on a daily basis. This would not be possible if the opening date of March 22nd were written into law.

The central Glarus National Councilor Martin Landolt wants to keep the pressure on the Federal Council, but does not want to write an opening date in the law. (Archive image)

Anthony Anex / KEYSTONE

Can Parliament force the opening?

Yes it could. And a majority of the National Council’s Economic Commission wants this too. She would like to write in the law that the Federal Council must open on March 22nd. The Council of States, which will discuss the law on Thursday, has so far made no move to do so. In the National Council, the majority of the middle should speak out against it. The SP therefore accuses the bourgeois parties of having stoked the hopes of those affected with the action – without there being any prospect of success.

Why did the national councils want to take the radical step?

The resentment in parliament is great, especially in the commercial wing. When weighing up the health and economic damage, which can vary depending on the measures, they now want to limit the economic damage. The risk groups will soon be vaccinated, they say. “You cannot lead through a crisis without taking the people affected with you,” said Martin Landolt, member of the Central National Council. But people no longer understand the measures: Shops or terraces are closed, although the risk of infection is low there. SP National Councilor Prisca Birrer-Heimo, on the other hand, says that it is “politically irresponsible if the Federal Council is restricted in the scope it needs to react flexibly and quickly to new developments”.

What is the Federal Council doing now?

According to the Federal Council, the next opening step will take place on March 22nd. But what exactly is planned is not yet known. It is possible, for example, to open the restaurant terraces. On Sunday it was leaked that the Federal Council is examining more extensive openings than previously known, such as concerts or theater events. However, the Federal Council had previously set clear values ​​with regard to the R-value or incidence figures. Further opening steps should only take place if these are complied with. The criteria are currently not met.

What is the point of the explanation?

It is a sign, not only to the Federal Council, but also for the parliament’s limited scope for action. The Federal Council is currently taking very far-reaching decisions based on the Epidemics Act. Parliament cannot have a say – or only afterwards. Statements or letters to the Federal Council are currently instruments that Parliament intends to use to create a say. They’re not particularly effective. The State Political Commission is currently examining plans to improve the Parliament’s lack of a say in future crises.

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Extraordinary process National Council open putting Federal Council pressure questions answers


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