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Swiss Not Always Neutral — Reject Anti-Immigration Measure

In a move away from the nationalistic Swiss People's Party, all but one Swiss state (canton) has voted to reject an anti-immigration initiative designed to stop foreigners from becoming citizens.

The official results showed that 63.8 percent of the population rejected the requirement of having those wishing to become Swiss citizens have their applications put to a vote — a practice some communities use to discourage new citizens.

Switzerland’s President and vocal opponent to the measure said: “The people clearly said ‘We don’t want xenophobia and we want direct democracy to respect basic rights." To see the motivation behind the measure,


The measure was a right wing referendum created to overturn the Supreme Court decision finding it unfair to subject citizen applications to a popular vote. The total turnout for the referendum was 44.1 percent — and in some cantons up to 82 percent voted no.

More than 20 percent of the 7.5 million people who live in Switzerland are foreigners, one of the highest percentages in Europe — and it's not easy to join up. Applicants must live in the country for 12 years before applying for citizenship. Are the Swiss on the right track? Is a bigger welcome mat the best policy?


Join The Conversation
Bisque Bisque 9 years
I do wonder if the outcome of the vote was influenced however slightly on recent world events.
gigill gigill 9 years
About time!
Mädchen Mädchen 9 years
Just a bit more info on that billboard: It's actually referring to a different issue. The SVP (Swiss People's Party) started another initiative last year about deporting criminal foreigners (that's where the "black sheep" come in). "Sicherheit schaffen" means "(to) create safety". It isn't all that much less offensive, but I though I'd still point it out. Doesn't make me dislike the SVP any less though... Anyway, my boyfriend's Swiss and he (of course :)) voted "no".
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
That flag is still too subtle. Maybe it should have had a turban or an afro just in case they weren't sure which minority group they were supposed to antagonize.
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 9 years
that's pretty cool.
em1282 em1282 9 years
Ouch. Way to go on kicking out the "black sheep" in the advert.
stephley stephley 9 years
I'd be happier about the vote if Switzerland had Hawaii's climate - then I could move, be warm and avoid Susan Sarandon. A country like Switzerland pretty much needs a big welcome mat. You never know which group of foreigners is going to be on top from decade to decade so they can't afford to insult any potentially filthy rich people.
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