SVP renounces shock poster tactics for June public vote

Switzerland’s largest political party, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) will not be investing in a poster campaign for the June 5th referendum after its posters for the last popular vote were roundly attacked by critics.

SVP renounces shock poster tactics for June public vote
The poster for the last campaign failed to covince voters. Photo: SVP

The SVP’s infamous posters in favour of the expulsion of foreign criminals caused controversy by showing a white sheep kicking a black sheep out of Switzerland.

But the highly visible shock campaign failed to convince voters, with nearly 59 percent of voters rejecting the initiative in February.

“We made considerable effort and that only stirred up our opponents who used it as scare tactics. We don’t want to make the same mistake,” SVP vice president Oskar Freysinger told newspaper 24 Heures.

Speaking to Le Matin, the party’s president Toni Brunner confirmed that it would not be using posters in public spaces to support its position in the run up to the next popular vote on June 5th.

On Monday the party launched its campaign for the next referendum. Among other things, it will fight against a proposed reform to the asylum law, backed by the federal government, which aims to speed up the asylum process and guarantee free legal advice for asylum seekers.

Explaining the decision not to deliver a nationwide paid-for poster campaign, SVP’s campaign chief Andreas Glarner, a hardliner who has previously campaigned against asylum seekers, told SonntagsBlick: “The people must know themselves what asylum policy they want,” he said.

“Does the electorate believe the authorities’ propaganda when they claim that free lawyers will speed up procedures? The SVP is no longer willing to make all the effort, as was the case for the vote on the [foreign criminals] project implementation,” he said.

The decision doesn’t mean that cantonal sections of the party cannot pay for their own publicity campaigns on the subject, however.

But many agree that throwing money at shock tactics does not work.

“Many people think we win thanks to money. We can do it thanks to our ideas,” Jean-Luc Addor, vice-president of the Valais section of the SVP, told 20 Minutes.

“We have noticed that shock posters play tricks on us. We saw that with the expulsion of foreign criminals,” added Kevin Grangier, general secretary of the SVP in the canton of Vaud.

The Swiss public will vote on five subjects on June 5th, including the implementation of a basic wage for every citizen and the modification of the law on assisted reproduction which would allow genetic testing on embryos.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

Moving to another country is never easy, as it requires going through cultural changes and administrative formalities. It can be even more complicated when looking for a job.

EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

According to new data released by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, the knowledge of the national language and the recognition of professional qualifications are the two most common obstacles experienced by foreign-born people in finding a ‘suitable’ job in countries of the European Union.

Overall, about a quarter of people born outside the EU who had experience in working or looking for work in the bloc reported some difficulties getting a ‘suitable’ job for level of education (without considering the field of expertise or previous experience).

The Eurostat analysis shows that the situation is better for EU citizens moving within the bloc. But there are major differences depending on countries and gender.

Life can be more difficult for women

In 2021, 13.2 percent of men and 20.3 percent of women born in another European Union country reported obstacles in getting a suitable job in the EU place of residence.

These proportions however increase to 20.9 percent for men and 27.3 percent for women born in a non-EU country with a high level of development (based on the United Nations’ Human Development Index) and 31.1 percent for men and 35.7 percent for women from non-EU countries with a low or medium level of development.

Finland (42.9 percent), Sweden (41.7 percent), Luxembourg (34.6 percent) and France (32.1 percent) are the countries with the highest shares of people born outside the EU reporting problems. Norway, which is not part of the bloc, has an even higher percentage, 45.2, and Switzerland 34.3 percent.

In contrast, Cyprus (11.2 percent), Malta (10.9 percent), Slovenia (10.2 percent), Latvia (10 percent) and Lithuania (6.7 percent) have the lowest proportion of people born outside the EU reporting difficulties.

Lack of language skills

The lack of skills in the national language is most commonly cited as a hurdle, and it is even more problematic for women.

This issue was reported by 4.2 percent of men born in another EU country, 5.3 percent of those born in a developed country outside the EU and 9.7 percent of those from a non-EU country with a middle or low level of development. The corresponding shares for women, however, were 5.6, 6.7 and 10.5 percent respectively.

The countries where language skills were more likely to be reported by non-EU citizens as an obstacle in getting a relevant job were Finland (22.8 percent), Luxembourg (14.7 percent) and Sweden (13.1 percent).

As regards other countries covered by The Local, the percentage of non-EU citizens citing the language as a problem was 12.4 percent in Austria, 10.2 percent in Denmark, 7.8 percent in France, 5.1 percent in Italy, 2.7 percent in Spain, 11.1 percent on Norway and 10.1 percent in Switzerland. Data is not available for Germany.

Portugal (77.4 percent), Croatia (68.8 percent), Hungary (58.8 percent) and Spain (58.4 percent) have the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving, while more than 70 percent of non-EU citizens residing in Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway said they had participated in language courses after arrival.

Lisbon Portugal

Portugal has the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving. (Photo by Aayush Gupta on Unsplash)

Recognition of qualifications

Another hurdle on the way to a relevant job in EU countries is the lack of recognition of a formal qualification obtained abroad. This issue was reported by 2 percent of men and 3.8 percent of women born in another EU country. It was also mentioned by 3.3 percent of men and 5.9 percent of women born in a developed country outside the EU, and 4.8 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Eurostat says this reflects an “unofficial distrust” among employers of qualification obtained abroad and the “low official validation of foreign education”.

The lack of availability of a suitable job was another factor mentioned in the survey. In Croatia, Portugal and Hungary, this was the main obstacle to getting an adequate position.

This issue concerned 3.3 percent of men and 4.5 percent of women born in another EU country, 4.2 percent of men and 5 percent of women born in a developed non-EU country It also worried 3.9 percent of men and 5.1 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Restricted right to work due to citizenship or residence permits, as well as plain discrimination on the grounds of origin were also cited as problems.

Discrimination was mostly reported by people born in a less developed non-EU country (3.1 percent for men and 3.3 percent for women) compared to people born in highly developed non-EU countries (1.9 percent for men and 2.2 percent for women).

Citizenship and residence permits issues are unusual for people from within the EU. For people from outside the EU, this is the only area where women seem to have fewer problems than men: 1.6 percent of women from developed non-EU countries reported this issue, against 2.1 percent of men, with the share increasing to 2.8 and 3.3 percent respectively for women and men from less developed non-EU states.

The article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.