Swiss voters reject proposed immigration cap

Voters in Switzerland on Sunday rejected plans to protect the country’s wealth by investing in gold and drastically limit immigration, according to polling firm gfs.bern. A proposal to require the Swiss central bank to hold a fifth of its reserves in gold was opposed by 78 percent of voters, projections indicated. The plan would have forced the Swiss National Bank to buy massive amounts of gold within five years. Another proposal to limit immigration to 0.2 percent of Switzerland’s population — about 16,000 immigrants a year for a country of 8 million — received the backing of 26 percent of voters, while 74 percent opposed it.

With this absolutely clear result we can once again look forward and in relation to the bilateral deals find a way forward. This is a very different starting position than what we had after [the last vote].

Paul Rechsteiner, president of the Swiss association of trade unions

Currently, immigration is estimated at around 80,000 a year. The “Ecopop” initiative would have also required Switzerland to devote a large chunk of its foreign aid to programs aimed at reducing population growth in poor countries. A third proposal — to ditch the special tax breaks handed to wealthy foreign residents, who today can choose to be levied on their spending rather than income — was turned down by 60 percent of voters. Switzerland’s system of direct democracy gives citizens the right to force popular votes if they can gather enough signatures of support.