(Update: final result, yes to fighter jets, no to hunting law)
BERN (dpa-AFX) – The Swiss clearly reject a limit on the influx of foreigners. The initiative of the right-wing conservative SVP, which also wanted to revoke the freedom of movement of persons with the European Union, clearly failed in a referendum on Sunday. According to the final result, 61.7 percent voted against it. The SVP had argued that too many people reduced prosperity and were too expensive for social welfare. Since 1990, the population of Switzerland has increased by around a quarter to 8.6 million.
This should bring new momentum to the lengthy cooperation negotiations with the European Union. The EU wants to put all bilateral agreements under a framework agreement. This is also intended to weaken some of the privileges negotiated by Switzerland. As a warning, she has already suspended recognition for the stock exchange in Zurich. The Swiss government is calling for improvements to the Brussels proposal.
The introduction of a two-week paternity leave was accepted by 60.3 percent. The fathers should receive 80 percent of their wages during this period. The result of the votes on the hunting law and the procurement of fighter jets stood on the knife’s edge for hours.
The new hunting law, which was supposed to make it easier to kill wolves, was ultimately rejected by 51.9 percent. The animals were once exterminated, but are back at home in Switzerland. It is estimated that there are around 80 to 100 animals today. According to the authorities, between 300 and 500 sheep and goats have been killed every year for the past ten years. With the change, wolves should remain protected, but under certain conditions they should be shot before they cause damage.
The government’s request to buy new fighter jets for up to six billion francs (around 5.5 billion euros) was only just accepted. The decisive factor was less than 9,000 votes. Around 30 Swiss F / A have to be replaced by 2030. In the running for the order are Airbus with the Eurofighter, the French company Dassault with the Rafale and the Americans: Boeing with its F / A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed-Martin with the F-35.
Around 5.4 million Swiss are entitled to vote. While the turnout in referendums is usually below 50 percent, this time it was around 58 percent./oe/DP/he