Switzerland: the victory of the right wing. “Yes” to limits on immigrants and cross-border workers
Surprising result for the initiative by the UDC “Against mass immigration”. The people and the cantons vote in favour; in Ticino, the “Yeses” triumph.
The result that the Swiss right wing obtained today is resounding. The UDC (the Democratic Union of the Centre) only just won its historic battle, creating the foundations for limiting the presence of foreigners within the borders of the Confederation. The federal vote (one of the greatest instruments of direct democracy) on the popular initiative “Against mass immigration” divided the country, surprisingly obtaining the majority of the popular vote (of those that had the right to vote) and of the cantons, as was required for it to be approved, to all intents and purposes.
As predicted by the polls, the cantons in German and Italian Switzerland voted in favour, but French Switzerland confirmed its opposition. All the same, such a significant final result was not imagined. The promoters were able to ride the discontent of the people over an increasingly numerous foreign component (in terms of both resident immigrants, and cross-border workers).
The results of the voting:
What will change after the vote – The success at the ballot box will oblige Berne to establish, within three years, quotas on residence permits and to limit entry to Switzerland. The implications still have to be fully understood, but we can expect a revolution in the relations between Switzerland and the European Union. According to many observers, there will be a clear return to the past, with respect to the progresses achieved in the field of free circulation of people, in more than ten years.
According to the text voted in today, the introduction of quotas will also extend to cross-border workers. And in the labour market, a mechanism favouring Swiss citizens in the hiring procedures will be introduced.
The approval of the initiative has also introduced a contrast between international agreements and the will of the people. The agreements concluded during the last few years between Switzerland and the European Union, first of which is the agreement on free circulation, must be renegotiated.
Triumph of the “Yeses” in Canton Ticino – In Canton Ticino, where the UDC was also supported by the strongest party, the Ticino League, the “Yeses” literally triumphed, with more than 68% of the votes. No surprises on this front, then; even the polls had foreseen such a victory (in the photo, “Bala i ratt”, the controversial, anti-Italian campaign by the UDC, leading up to the vote).
However, the effect of the vote is anything but certain and will force people to reflect also on the relations between bordering territories, like Ticino and Lombardy, with respect to the hottest topic, cross-border workers (particularly those from Varese and Como). There are currently about 60,000 Italians who work in Ticino.