Switzerland approves in referendum to equalize the retirement age for women and men

Switzerland has approved this Sunday in a referendum and by a narrow margin to raise the retirement age for women from 64 to 65 years, which is thus equalized with that of men.

The change to the Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance (AVS) has been approved by 51 percent of voters, according to preliminary official results.

The majority of the Parliament, the Government and employers have come out in favor of the reform to ensure the viability of the pension system.

However, trade unions, left-wing parties and feminist groups have come out against the reform because it means placing the burden of the new collection on those who earn the least and on women.

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The reform also includes an increase in the value-added tax (VAT) from 7.7 to 8.1 percent, in order to provide additional funding for AHV. This aspect was voted on separately and achieved 56 percent support.

An initiative against the intensive breeding of farm animals was also voted on this Sunday and the population rejected (62.9 percent) the proposal, which sought to enshrine the protection of the dignity of animals in the Constitution.

The current Federal Animal Protection Act, one of the strictest in the world, has been the main argument of the campaign against the initiative.

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This law stipulates that anyone raising animals must take into account their needs, ensure their welfare and not harm their dignity. It also establishes the minimum dimensions of the animals’ living quarters.

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