June 2, 2002 Held


Swiss Confederation



Voter Participation

Cast Votes:1,978,123
Valid Votes:None
Invalid Votes:None

Referendum Vote Share

To legalize abortions performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy




To further restrict the legality of abortion procedures




Election Results Modified: Jun 21, 2024

General Information

At stake in this referendum:

  • The referendum will ask voters to decide the legalization of abortions through the twelfth week of pregnancy.

Description of government structure:

  • Chief of State: President Kaspar VILLIGER
  • Head of Government: President Kaspar VILLIGER
  • Assembly: Switzerland has a bicameral Federal Assembly (Bundesversammlung, Assemblée Fédérale) consisting of the Council of States (Standerat, Conseil des Etats, Consiglio degli Stati) with 46 seats and the National Council (Nationalrat/Conseil National/Consiglio Nazionale) with 200 seats.

    * The Federal Presidency rotates among the 7 members of the Federal Council, which is the formal chief of state. Presently the Federal Council consists of Kaspar VILLIGER, Ruth DREIFUSS, Moritz LEUENBERGER, Pascal COUCHEPIN, Ruth METZLER-ARNOLD, Joseph DEISS, and Samuel SCHMID.

Description of electoral system:

  • The President is appointed by parliament to serve a 1-year term.
  • In the Council of States (Standerat/Conseil des Etats/ Consiglio degli Stati), 6 members are elected by plurality vote in single-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms and 40 members are elected by plurality vote in multi-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms*. In the National Council (Nationalrat/Conseil National/Consiglio Nazionale), 195 members are elected by open list proportional representation in multi-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms and 5 members are elected by a plurality system to serve 4-year terms.**
  • * Single-member districts correspond to the former half-cantons whereas two-seat districts correspond to former full cantons. The electoral system is a two round system, with exception of Jura and Neuchâtel, where it is proportional representation.

    ** Seats are apportioned to each canton in proportion to its population. Voters have the option of panachage. The electoral system is proportional representation.

Provisions in this referendum:

  • Change of the Swiss Penal Code (Termination of Preganacy): To officially legalize abortions performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • People's Initiative 'On Mother and Child -- For the protection of the unborn child and for the help of mothers in distress': To further restrict the legality of abortion procedures.

Population and registered voters:

  • Population: 7,284,753 (2002)
  • Registered Voters: 4,731,017 (2002)

Gender Data:

·         Female Population: 3,724,499 (2002)

·         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: 45 (National Council); 9 (Council of States) following the 1999 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: 1,092,712 (est.)

Election Modified: Jun 21, 2024

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