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Swiss politicians vote against greater wage transparency

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Swiss politicians vote against greater wage transparency
Many Swiss politicians have other jobs or positions on company boards. File photo: AFP
09:36 CEST+02:00
In a close-run vote, Swiss politicians on Monday voted against a motion that would have seen them declaring whether they earn an income from their non-political positions.

Many Swiss politicians have second jobs or positions on company boards that they combine with their political duties. These politicians bring key industry experience and knowledge with them to Bern.

Until now, however, Swiss parliamentarians have not had to declare who they work for, or whether those positions are paid.

Read also: this is how much people earn in Switzerland

But on Monday there was a slight shift towards transparency with politicians in the upper and lower house agreeing that they would now publicly declare details of their employers.

An extract from the official register of politicians' interests with details of positions held by FDP. The Liberals politician MP Giovanni Merlini.

This move came in the wake of a proposal from Marianne Streiff-Feller with the Evangelical People's Party of Switzerland (EPV) who had argued voters had the right to know on whose payroll their representatives were.

While this information may be public or an open secret in some cases, it is not something that has had to be officially declared until now.

But at the same time politicians on Monday also voted against proposed changes that would have seen them declaring whether their second jobs or company board positions were paid or unpaid.

Any positions with a payment of less than 12,000 francs a year were to be considered honorary.

The vote was very tight with 93 MPs voting against the proposal and 92 for. But regional Swiss daily the Aargauer Zeitung noted that 12 politicians in the lower house had failed to turn up on time for the vote including three Socialist Party MPs who backed the vote.

Opposing the initiative, Gregor Rutz of the conservative Swiss People's Party said forcing parliamentarians to declare how much they earned outside of the parliament would lead to a situation where Switzerland only had career politicians.

Read also: Three years in parliament and not one word - meet Switzerland's most silent MP

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