Optional referendum

A ballot paper of the votation, organised on 8 February 2009, on the extension of the free movement of persons to Bulgaria and Romania.
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The optional referendum (German: Fakultatives Referendum; French: Référendum facultatif) is an instrument of direct democracy in Switzerland. It allows citizens to oppose to laws voted by the parliament. A votation will be organised for every law that collected 50,000 valid signatures of opponents.

It is different from the mandatory referendum in that a collection of signatures is necessary to organise the referendum.


After pressure of a grass-roots movement, the optional referendum was introduced in 1874.[1]

See also



  1. (French) Horizons, magazine of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, no. 99, 2013, p. 45.
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