Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to deport foreign lawbreakers in a referendum on Sunday, giving a blow to the dominant anti-immigration Swiss People’s Party.
“I feel that, in this country where we protected tax evasion for a long time, and where we protect rich people and we always jump on smallest, on poorest and on neediest people, this is really a shame and I’m happy it (the initiative) didn’t pass,” said Sandrine Monbaron, a voter.
The referendum comes at time when many European countries are hardening their attitudes to migrants after more than a million arrived on the continent last year.
Yes, we are relieved because, first of all, it is a landslide victory, a very clear victory and this is also a sign of a kind of maturity, a very large part of the Swiss people decided to favour the rule of law
The president of the Geneva Canton’s state council and member of the Liberal radical party, Francois Longchamps attributed the Sunday’s victory to voters’ maturity to favour the rule of law.
“Yes, we are relieved because, first of all, it is a landslide victory, a very clear victory and this is also a sign of a kind of maturity, a very large part of the Swiss people decided to favour the rule of law, the resort of a judge when there was serious decisions like expel a criminal foreigner. This is also a trust mark to the European Union. You know we are in negotiation with the EU and this is also a sign of openness that the Swiss people gave today,” he said.
In the 2010, the Swiss agreed to automatically deport foreigners found guilty of murder, rape and other serious sexual offences, violent crimes like robbery, drug trafficking and abusing social aid. The proposal was approved by 52.9 percent of those voting.