• Short Summary

    The all-male Swiss electorate began voting in earnest today(Saturday) on the controversial proposal to reduce the foreign population of the country by one third from their present total of nearly a million.

  • Description

    The all-male Swiss electorate began voting in earnest today(Saturday) on the controversial proposal to reduce the foreign population of the country by one third from their present total of nearly a million.

    It's Switzerland's most controversial referendum for many years and a high poll is expected.

    The proposal - known as the Schwarzenbach Campaign - came from Independent Member of Parliament James Schwarzenbach. His initiative, which was backed by 70,000 supporting signatures, aims to preventing the sacrifice of Switzerland's national identity against the insatiable foreign labour demands of the country's booming industry.

    The whole Swiss establishment - trade unions, industry, Churches, press and all the major political parties - is against the proposal on the grounds that it could bring economic and social disaster. Herr Schwarzenbach, however, has attracted considerable support, and the result is expected to be close.

    If the proposal became law, the country would loss about 220,000 badly needed workers - mostly Italian, but also including Spanish, Austrian, French, West German and Yugoslavian manpower.

    Earlier this year, the Swiss Government tightened the 1965 immigration controls, but the Schwarzenbach initiative would fix more rigid limits. It provides for the reduction of the number of foreigners in each canton(province) to ten per cent of its population by 1974.

    A high percentage of the immigrant workers are engaged in construction and other labouring jobs, and whether or not the proposal is accepted observers believe that many may leave the country of their own accord, causing serious labour shortages and factory closures.

    The result of the referendum will reflect the extent to which the Swiss uphold the country's traditional reputation for tolerance, racial and linguistic harmony and hospitality to the foreigner.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVACFVVVHS93WE0D8N5TK3X1DRCR
    Media URN:
    VLVACFVVVHS93WE0D8N5TK3X1DRCR
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    06/06/1970
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:07:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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