Tribune de Genève.
In March 2016, a group known as the Egerkingen committee, started the process of collecting the 100,000 signatures required to launch a federal referendum to ban the wearing of full veils in Switzerland.
The Egerkingen committee, or Egerkinger Komittee, made the news in 2009, when a referendum it launched to ban the construction of minarets, passed after 57.50% voted in favour of it.
The often seen difference between French and German-speaking Swiss voters was apparent. Three French-speaking cantons: Geneva, Vaud and Neuchatel voted against the initiative, while all German-speaking cantons except Basel-City, and the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, voted in favour of the ban.
To get a green light, the latest initiative attempting ban full veils in Switzerland, requires 100,000 signatures of support before 15 September 2017.
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To gauge public support for a full veil ban, the newspapers Matin Dimanche and SonntagsZeitung, ran a poll, which showed over 71% support the measure. Support was also high in French-speaking Switzerland where the minaret vote was rejected by a majority. 72% of German-speakers polled approved of the move, along with 70% of French speakers. Italian speakers (85%) were even more in favour of it. In addition, the difference between men (73%) and women (69%) was relatively small.
Of the 71% in favour of the ban, 55% were for it and 16% broadly agreed with it. Of those against it, 9% were generally against it, and 17% rejected it.
Those polled showed marked differences across political parties. 96% of Swiss Peoples Party (UDC) voters, 73% of Liberal Radical party voters, 47% of socialists and 33% of Green party voters favour the ban.
In addition, the poll done in late August on a sample of close to 16,000 citizens, revealed that 49% fear a terrorist attack on home ground, especially French speakers (55%).
A cantonal law banning face covering went into force on 1 July 2016 in the Italian speaking canton of Ticino where several people have already been fined.