SVP piles on pressure over foreign criminals

Swiss ministers came under renewed pressure on Friday to pass a law to expel foreign criminals, after far-right party the SVP brought a new referendum on the issue a step closer.

The party has brought forward a new popular initiative, signed by 154,982 people, calling on the government to honour the result of a referendum held in November 2010, newspaper 20 Minutes reports. In that vote, 53 percent of voters backed the compulsory expulsion of foreigners who had committed crimes in Switzerland. The SVP accuses the government, which is obliged to implement the measures, of dragging its feet.


The government put two detailed proposals forward in May, but both of these were significantly more lenient than the original proposals – something the government said was necessary to make them compatible with international law. 


The new initiative is far more detailed than the original, and if passed would give the government less room for manoeuvre. The text specifies that expulsion of foreigners who committed murder, robbery or rape would be automatic, even on a first offence. Others facing expulsion would include "notorious and incorrigible" offenders whose actions "seriously affect order and public safety," according to Le Matin.


"It is high time to act severely against foreign criminality," the party claims in the initiative. "Criminality remains a potent problem. The number of robberies and burglaries is literally exploding in several cantons," it says.

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