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Swiss party files petition on immigration cap

AFP · 15 Feb 2012, 09:00

Published: 15 Feb 2012 09:00 GMT+01:00

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The far-right Swiss People's Party, the country's largest, on Tuesday filed a petition supporting a cap on immigration to Switzerland, where more than a fifth of the population is foreign.

Party leader Toni Brunner said he wanted to "spark a debate on immigration" as he filed the petition to the federal chancellery, ending a months-long campaign to gather the required 100,000 signatures.

If the authorities deem the terms of the popular initiative legitimate, it then goes to a popular referendum, as per Switzerland's unique system of direct democracy.

The move is aimed at capping the annual number of foreigners granted residency and cherry-picking applicants. The party's proposals also include giving priority to natives on the job market.

Brunner's populist party also explained during the seven-month campaign that immigration quotas would be set in order to suit Switzerland's economic needs.

The country's federation of employers and industries promptly reacted to the prospect of a referendum by warning that the proposed law would threaten Switzerland's economic prosperity.

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According to the party's own figures, the petition mustered a total of 136,195 signatures, the vast majority of which came from the German-speaking regions where Switzerland's far-right has its strongholds.

In August last year, foreigners accounted for 22.3 percent of the country's 7.9 million population.

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Your comments about this article

2012-02-15 09:28:30 by asteriks
Toni Brunner (and his 130 000 people) = Hitler.
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