A parliamentary committee has authorised the petition to ban smoking on restaurant terraces for parliamentary debate, albeit after the new upcoming elections.

The committee verified both the physical and electronic signatures of the petition and found 228 to be invalid. That left 4,668,  168 more than the required 4,500.

The president of the petitions committee, Marco Schank, confirmed that for a variety of reasons the open debate would not take place until after the upcoming elections.

The first reason is that current members of parliament have deemed it inappropriate to wage a public debate in the middle of campaigning. There are also more practical concerns, as the plenary chamber is currently being renovated. Finally, Schank explained that they are also waiting for a counter-petition (number 1080), which calls for smoking on terraces to be allowed, to close. If this petition also gained the required amount of signatures, parliament would hold an open debate for both.

Only five out of 22 petitions considered by the committee were put forward for parliamentary debate. One of those is the counter-petition to banning smoking on terraces. Another petition calls for special leave when temperatures rise above 30 degrees Celsius, and a further petition, number 1087, advocates banning plastic bags.

These petitions will soon be up on the Chambre's website. The petitions committee will be meeting a further two times before the elections to ensure that the new committee would not be overwhelmed.