Outcome of Swiss Foreign Criminal Initiative Is Open, Poll Finds

  • Initiative would require foreign criminals to be deported
  • Vote on so-called enforcement initiative scheduled for Feb. 28

Swiss voters were fairly evenly divided on an initiative to expel foreigners convicted of crimes, meaning the result was still too close to call, a poll for Switzerland’s national broadcaster found.

QuickTake Switzerland's People Power

“The outcome seems to be open,” pollster gfs.bern said in its survey for broadcaster SRG published on Wednesday.

Up for a ballot on Feb. 28 is whether authorities should be required to expel non-citizens convicted of crimes such as murder, rape and armed robbery automatically. Those with a prior criminal record could face expulsion for lesser offenses. The measure builds upon a popular initiative already approved in 2010.

Forty-nine percent would have opposed the measure, dubbed the “enforcement initiative,” had voting been held on Feb. 9. The survey, conducted Feb. 5-13 among 1,411 qualified voters, found that 46 percent were for it, with 5 percent undecided. The margin of error was plus/minus about 2.7 percentage points.

Referendums are a key feature of Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, and are held nationally and at a municipal level several times a year.

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