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Switzerland: Popular Political Party Calls for Referendum on Immigration

The Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has called for a referendum on immigration amid concerns that Switzerland cannot cope with increasingly high numbers of migrants entering the country. 

The SVP, which is the most popular party in Switzerland, called for a referendum to be held to allow the country to renegotiate or opt out of international treaties should the nation’s population reach ten million. 

Over 100,000 migrants entered Switzerland in 2022, 70,000 of whom were from Ukraine. Figures also show that in 2021 130, 997 asylum applications were made

SVP campaign manager ​​Marcel Dettling said “Our country is cracking in every corner. We are going through the debacles of recent years. If we don’t intervene, we will be overtaken by events,

This proposed referendum is not the first of its kind in Switzerland. In 2014 a referendum to stop mass immigration was passed on a 50.3% majority. 

Switzerland enacted freedom of movement laws in 2007 leading as many as 80,000 people to cross into the country. 

According to reports some Swiss people are concerned about issues like lack of access to housing, overcrowding on public transport, and lack of access to health services and education. 

Although the referendum was passed by a majority of voters having attracted a significant turnout of 56% of the electorate, parliament reportedly watered down the effects of the vote. 

Another issue of public concern are the demographics of the prison population in the country. According to figures produced by the Council of Europe in 2019 over 71% of those incarcerated were foreign nationals. 

 

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