What is the age limit of SSR

The Swiss Seniors' Council (SSR) demands the unrestricted lifting of age limits. He wants to work for free access to public offices and demands that the federal government create an observatory for age discrimination. In his struggle, he relies on an expert opinion under constitutional law.

(ap) According to SSR co-president Angeline Fankhauser, Switzerland needs a new culture of old age. It is unacceptable that older people are excluded from political office simply because of their age, said the former SP National Councilor in Bern on Friday. Age limits for the exercise of public offices as well as for sitting on commissions could not be justified and would therefore have to be deleted without replacement at federal, cantonal and municipal level.

Only legally permissible in special cases

In order to be able to advance its fight against age limits, the SSR commissioned the two Basel constitutional lawyers René Rhinow and Markus Schefer to provide an expert opinion on the question of the admissibility of age limits. In it, the two professors come to the conclusion that age restrictions for authorities that are elected by the people may only be set in a very narrow space. These are only admissible if they ensure essential conditions for the exercise of the office and are compatible with the function of the authority in question. Age barriers for those authorities that were not elected by the people only appeared permissible if they were classified as proportionate. It must be ensured that those affected are not excluded from important phases in the formation of political will and decision-making.

Madiswil case as a trigger

According to a survey carried out by the SSR after the nationwide turmoil about the introduction of age limits in the Bern municipality of Madiswil in May of last year, there are currently no age limits at canton and municipality level in only nine cantons. These are Zurich, Schwyz, Obwalden and Nidwalden as well as Zug, Thurgau, Ticino, Vaud and Neuchâtel. In the cantons of Bern, Glarus and St. Gallen, on the other hand, there are age limits at cantonal and communal level. SSR member Arthur Züger described the fact that eight cantons were unable to provide any information as to whether or not there were age limits in their communities as questionable. Clarification is needed here, what is to be achieved, among other things, with an initiative by National Councilor Christine Egerszegi (fdp., Aargau). This calls on the Federal Council to present a comprehensive inventory of the situation in Switzerland. For its part, the SSR demands that the federal government set up an observatory for age discrimination.