May 16, 2004 Held


Swiss Confederation



Voter Participation

Cast Votes:2,439,677
Valid Votes:2,407,851
Invalid Votes:32,286

Referendum Vote Share

The tax reforms include a reduction in taxes for married couples, families and home owners as well as a reduction in stamp duty. The reforms would lead to a drop in tax revenues of 4.3 billion Swiss Francs. The referendum was initiated by more than 50,000 citizens as well as a number of cantons.




The state old age pensions and invalidity insurance schemes are to be granted additional value added tax (VAT) revenues to guarantee their financing in the medium term. Under a government decision on financing the two schemes, an additional 0.8 per cent of VAT revenues are to be allocated to the invalidity fund and an extra one percent to the pensions fund. As these changes require a change in the constitution, a popular vote must be held on the issue.




In order to guarantee payments from the state pensions fund despite changes in the demographic situation, the Swiss government and Parliament argue that savings must be made in specific areas. The 11th revision of the state pensions scheme includes raising the retirement age to 65 for women, decreasing widows’ pensions as well as funding the pensions fund by value added tax (VAT). With the additional VAT revenues, financing the pensions fund is to be guaranteed until 2015. The referendum on the issue was initiated by the Swiss Trade Union Federation.




Election Results Modified: Jun 21, 2024

General Information

At stake in this Referendum:

  • Popular vote on three reforms to the country's tax and pension system.

Description of government structure:

  • Chief of State: Federal Councillor Joseph DEISS *
  • Head of Government: Federal Councillor Joseph DEISS
  • Assembly: Switzerland has a bicameral Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung, Assemblée Féderale) consisting of the Council of States (Standerat, Conseil des Etats, or Consiglio degli Stati) with 46 seats* and the National Council (Nationalrat, Conseil National, or Consiglio Nazionale) with 200 seats.

* President of the Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs

* The Council of States, consists of 46 members, two elected from each of 20 cantons and one from each of the six half-cantons, according to cantonal procedure.


Population and registered voters:

  • Population: 7,389,625 (2004)
  • Registered Voters: 4,708,440 (2003)

Gender Data:

·         Female Population: 3,775,180 (2004)

·         Is Switzerland a signatory to CEDAW: Yes (23 January 1987)

·         Has Switzerland ratified CEDAW: Yes (27 March 1997)

·         Gender Quota: No

·         Female candidates in this election: N/A

·         Number of Female Parliamentarians: 50 (National Council); 11 (Council of States) following the 2003 elections

·         Human Development Index Position: 3 (2014)

·         Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Categorization: N/A

Disability Data:

·         Is Switzerland a signatory to CRPD: No

·         Has Switzerland ratified CRPD: Yes, accession (15 April 2014)

·         Population with a disability: 1,108,443 (est.)

Election Modified: Jun 21, 2024

Most Recent Elections in Switzerland

With Participation Rates