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Old 22.06.2007, 09:13
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referendums and shopping

O.K. I've got a question about the swiss legal/government system.

I read somewhere that all it takes is 100,000 signatures for something to be submitted to referendum here.

If this is true, and the "no shopping on Sundays" is a law thing and not a custom thing,

And it is obvious (from observational experience among other places also here in teeny weeny middle of nowhere boring town Fribourg, for instance), that if shops are open during holidays or have extended hours by some fortuitious freak accident of design? nature? legal loopholes?, people will crowd the stores until the last minute before closing,

Then why hasn't the "no shopping on Sundays law" been repealed yet? Has it not been submitted to referendums? Or does it always get defeated once it does?

This has been one of the greatest Swiss mysteries to me since I arrived two months ago....

Someone please explain?
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Old 22.06.2007, 09:24
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Re: referendums and shopping

Well, us Swissies voted for extended opening hours back in 2002, it didn't include Sunday though.

According to below law (unfortunately in German), shops can be open from Monday till Saturday 6:00 to 22:00. It's hardly implemented to the brink, especially on Saturday

The kicker is the clause that the Gemeinde can decide on which hours apply. E.g. the Coop Pronto near Bahnhof Wiedikon is closed on Sunday, but the one in Kempten/Wetzikon is open on Sunday... oh, forgot, it's disguised as a petrol station

http://www.rechtsbuch.tg.ch/pdf/500/554_11S.PDF
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Old 22.06.2007, 09:49
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Re: referendums and shopping

The 100'000 signatures rule is correct for nation-wide initiatives. However the opening hours are regulated in cantonal laws (and then sometimes implemented differently on a municipal level if allowed by the cantonal laws). Initiatives on the cantonal level need less signatures. These cantonal laws define the regular opening hours and the exceptions. For example in Marmoset's link to the law of canton Thurgau, it is written that pharmacies are exempt from the standard opening hours regulation, and food shops with less than a certain square footage, too.

Many Swiss are against longer opening hours and open shops on Sundays, mostly the leftist parties, the trade unions and the churches.
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Old 22.06.2007, 09:54
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Re: referendums and shopping

Hmmm...if less support is needed at the cantonal level....methinks I've got an evil plan brewing then...

Can initiatives be started by anyone, or do you need to be a citizen? (I know as a non-citizen I couldn't vote on the initiative, but would proposing one and collecting the signatures be off-limits too?)

Last edited by blueshrimp; 22.06.2007 at 09:55. Reason: smiley was wrong, wanted an evil smiley but it came out too benign.
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Old 22.06.2007, 10:38
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Re: referendums and shopping

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Well, us Swissies voted for extended opening hours back in 2002, it didn't include Sunday though.

According to below law (unfortunately in German), shops can be open from Monday till Saturday 6:00 to 22:00. It's hardly implemented to the brink, especially on Saturday

The kicker is the clause that the Gemeinde can decide on which hours apply. E.g. the Coop Pronto near Bahnhof Wiedikon is closed on Sunday, but the one in Kempten/Wetzikon is open on Sunday... oh, forgot, it's disguised as a petrol station

http://www.rechtsbuch.tg.ch/pdf/500/554_11S.PDF
... and some shops that are not cloaked as gas stations are open on Sundays as well, for example Zurich Kloten, Zurich HB, and Uster Bahnhof.
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Old 22.06.2007, 10:39
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Re: referendums and shopping

I'm not sure but I think it's okay as long as you get the 6000 required signatures in 90 days (make that 7000 because some will not be valid). Regrettably I have to inform you that the people of Fribourg voted against more liberal opening hours in 2003 when they discarded the revised "Gesetz über die Ausübung des Handels" with 50.74% of the votes. The issue still gets political attention and you should carefully investigate the state of affairs before you form an initiative comitee. It's a lot of political work to convince 51% of the voters and much legwork to get 6000 signatures, good luck!

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... and some shops that are not cloaked as gas stations are open on Sundays as well, for example Zurich Kloten, Zurich HB, and Uster Bahnhof.
Some laws are more generous with shops at important public transportation nodes.

Last edited by Nathu; 22.06.2007 at 10:40. Reason: Added quote
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Old 22.06.2007, 11:04
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Re: referendums and shopping

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Regrettably I have to inform you that the people of Fribourg voted against more liberal opening hours in 2003 when they discarded the revised "Gesetz über die Ausübung des Handels" with 50.74% of the votes... It's a lot of political work to convince 51% of the voters and much legwork to get 6000 signatures, good luck!

Aaah, Nanthu, you do not think like an evil genius! After collecting the 6000 signatures (as you said), I only really need to convince 1.75% of the voters (the other 49.25% are already convinced, given the statistics you provided).

In a population of 30,000 voters, 1.75% of the voters is only.... 525 people.

That's even less than the number of signatures....

*insert evil smile for which I cannot find the icon for*
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Old 22.06.2007, 11:30
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Re: referendums and shopping

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Aaah, Nanthu, you do not think like an evil genius! After collecting the 6000 signatures (as you said), I only really need to convince 1.75% of the voters (the other 49.25% are already convinced, given the statistics you provided).

In a population of 30,000 voters, 1.75% of the voters is only.... 525 people.

That's even less than the number of signatures....

*insert evil smile for which I cannot find the icon for*
Shrimp, with all due respect, you need to get out more .....
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Old 22.06.2007, 11:35
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Re: referendums and shopping

What about this instead of an smiley? Kittens are evil but still cute, so you might even consider it as a campaign poster.



"Iwanthascheezburgers... late and on Sundays!"
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Old 22.06.2007, 11:38
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Re: referendums and shopping

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Hmmm...if less support is needed at the cantonal level....methinks I've got an evil plan brewing then... )
Please no , don’t continue with your evil plan, the thought of being dragged around the shops on a Sunday would give me sleepless Saturday nights.
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Old 22.06.2007, 17:03
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Re: referendums and shopping

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Please no , don’t continue with your evil plan, the thought of being dragged around the shops on a Sunday would give me sleepless Saturday nights.
An evil plan indeed ! It’s so nice to have the shops closed on Sunday. In the UK Sunday is fast becoming like every other day of the week. Once the shops open then there’s pressure on a lot of other people to work on a Sunday to keep the shops supplied and provide all the services they need and then people start demanding that other businesses should also open.
Sunday is the one day when friends and family can be together.
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Old 22.06.2007, 17:05
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Re: referendums and shopping

If you think about it, what's the difference between a nurse and a shop worker? Why can one work on Sunday and the other cannot? Consider also anti-social working hours like shifts - not everyone works 9-5 like many EF slackers

I would welcome Sunday opening. The rush to the store on a Saturday with the billions of others is no pleasure.
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Old 22.06.2007, 17:12
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Re: referendums and shopping

The rush in shops on the eve of a holiday is a huge pain...how many companies let staff off work early so they can go and buy food for the next 1-2 days when shops are shut? Fortunately I live in Zurich where the main station is always a last resort.
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Old 22.06.2007, 17:20
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Re: referendums and shopping

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The rush in shops on the eve of a holiday is a huge pain...how many companies let staff off work early so they can go and buy food for the next 1-2 days when shops are shut? Fortunately I live in Zurich where the main station is always a last resort.
The rush to/in the shops on any day is a pain!

Nick
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Old 22.06.2007, 17:34
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Re: referendums and shopping

Doubtless Sunday opening will arrive in Switzerland one day - and more small retailers will close down because they cannot afford/dont want to work 7 days a week.

But until then I am very happy to have a day with the shops closed...
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Old 22.06.2007, 18:38
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Re: referendums and shopping

This has definitely been the topic of discussion here before.

Drives me batty, the artificial silence of Sundays.
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