Swiss vote against deportations crackdown

The Swiss have voted against deportation of foreigners who commit even minor offences. In a referendum held on Sunday around 60 percent of the population rejected the corresponding initiative by the Swiss People's Party. Commentators praise the result as a triumph of reason.

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Le Temps (CH) /

Swiss stand up to right-wing firebrands

The vote is a wise decision by the people, the liberal-conservative daily Le Temps concludes:

“Thanks to the outcry in civil society, voter turnout was high; as if many had learned their lesson from the vote on restricting freedom of movement two years ago. The information campaigns carried out at the local level, in the media and on social networks have paid off. What the Swiss People's Party proposed on Sunday was carnival democracy. The Swiss people have chosen the path of wisdom over that of the populists with their political pyrotechnics. Why chance a test that had already been adopted by parliament; a stringent but just law that gives judges the leeway to judge each situation individually and thus continue to fulfil their task?”

Zeit Online (DE) /

A vote against the spirit of the times

Common sense has prevailed in Switzerland, the liberal website Zeit Online comments:

“February 28, 2016 is a big day for Switzerland - and Europe. At a time when the European Union threatens to collapse under the weight of the refugee crisis, when elected governments often tailor their policies to suit the yellow press or the pubgoers, put up fences and place limits on the number of refugees all because that's what the people purportedly want; at this time one country is moving against the spirit of the times. And its voters are doing what is demanded of everyone who exercises popular sovereignty: maintaining a sense of proportion, weighing up the issue, and using their common sense. Moved not by fear, but by courage.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

SVP continues to split Swiss society

The liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung is delighted that the SVP's initiative for faster deportations was unsuccessful in Sunday's referendum but notes that Swiss society is nonetheless divided on the issue:

“So far, so good. Nonetheless, Sunday's referendum also furnishes proof of another, no less consistent trend. When the SVP launches an initiative on issues to do with the EU and foreigners it secures approval rates that go far beyond its voter base. In the parliamentary elections it won just under a third of the votes but its initiatives often gain majority support. The political centre's self-assuring slogan '70-percent of Switzerland' isn't accurate when it comes to Europe and migration. On these issues, notwithstanding the weekend's verdict, it's a '50-50 Switzerland'.”