After the National Assembly narrowly accepted a proposal for a nationwide ban on the burka, the Council of States (upper house), rejected the plan on Thursday by 26 votes to 9, with 4 abstentions. The proposal put forward by Walter Wobmann (UDC/SVP) has now been definitively rejected.
At the same time Walter Wobmann has started collecting signatures for a referendum on the issue, and has until September to gather the minimum 100,000 signatures needed to launch a popular vote.
Some politicians, such as Anita Fetz (PS/SP) from Basel, don’t think face covering is a big issue in Switzerland. “Even among tourists it’s rare” she said “I am all for a civil society where everyone shows their face, but I reject this initiative because this problem does not exist in Switzerland. I have seen maybe two or three tourists completely veiled in my life in Basel.”
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Another, Andra Caroni (PLR/FDP) said “In this country there are more nude hikers than burka wearers, but we don’t ban them because it is understood that we shouldn’t walk around naked in this country.”
In the end it could be the people who decide rather than the government. However, before that happens 100,000 signatures need to be collected.
A poll taken last year showed that 71% were in favour of a ban, especially in the German- and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland.
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