The Swiss are called to vote today on the abolition of the free movement of people in the European Union, a proposal for the largest Swiss party with major consequences, but whose polls do not seem to please voters. To adopt this initiative of the Democratic Union of the Center (UDC, populist right), you need a majority of voters and a majority of the 26 Swiss cantons.
The vast majority of Swiss voters, called to vote several times a year in referendums, voted by post in the two or three weeks leading up to referendum day, but polling stations will remain open from 10 a.m. today until 12:00 p.m. (local time, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Greek time).
The referendum was due to take place in May, but the government postponed the vote as restrictive measures taken to fight the coronavirus pact prevented parties from campaigning. The UCD initiative, which considers that Switzerland “is experiencing uncontrolled and massive migration” and that “jobs are threatened”, aims to annul the Agreement on the free movement of persons (AFMP) signed in 1999 with the European Union .
Polls announce the rejection of the initiative by nearly 65%. But the surprise of the “yes” in 2014 is causing many skeptics. If the initiative is approved, its consequences will jeopardize all bilateral relations between Switzerland and the EU.But the UDC, a clearly anti-European party whose xenophobic posters regularly provoke war, was more than ever during this single campaign.
The government, parliament, unions, employers, parties have all called on the Swiss to create a front against the populist right, recalling that the EU remains Switzerland’s main trading partner and that all sectors of its economy, especially in border regions depend on Europe labor.