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Landmark Swiss vote on a guaranteed basic income

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Landmark Swiss vote on a guaranteed basic income
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  • Switzerland votes no to a guaranteed basic income – exit poll
  • Vote is a “popular initiative”
  • Public funding and asylum applications also on the ballot

    What is happening?

An exit poll suggests Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to introduce a guaranteed national income.

78% of voters questioned say they have rejected the plan to provide a basic level of income for everyone in the country, whether working or not.

Plans to streamline and speed up the asylum process – another key issue in Sunday’s referendum – have been approved by 66% of those taking part.

The projections have been made by the GFS polling group for the Swiss broadcaster, SRF.

A national referendum

Switzerland has, on Sunday, held a national referendum on a proposal to introduce a guaranteed basic income for everyone living in the country.

Other items are also on the ballot but the income question has generated the most interest.

The tiny, land-locked country is the first to hold a national referendum on the income issue.

Keep up with the latest projections here (in French)

The result of the referendum is being watched closely outside Switzerland.

Other countries, including Finland, are thought to be examining similar plans.

*What do supporters say?

They claim that introducing a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs (more than 2,200 euros) per adult and 625 Swiss francs (563 euros) per child under 18 will promote human dignity and public service.

They say with the increasing automation of work, fewer jobs are available for workers.

*What about those against?

Opponents, including the government, say it would cost too much and weaken the economy.

Some say breaking the connection between work done and money earned would be negative for society – effectively, “money for nothing.”

How did the vote come about?

As a result of Switzerland’s popular initiative system. It is a feature of the Swiss political system.

More than 100,000 people signed a petition about the issue, thereby qualifying it for a referendum.

What is the popular initiative system?

A feature of systems of direct democracy like Switzerland.

  • Citizens can suggest changes to the constitution
  • 100,000 + signatures in 18 months go to a public vote
  • Majorities required in the vote and the number of supporting cantons

A basic income is one of five issues the Swiss are voting on.

Extra funding for public services and the streamlining of application procedures for asylum seekers are also on the ballot paper.

Will the Swiss vote yes?

Opinion polls suggest the income initiative, organised by Basel cafe owner Daniel Haeni, has little chance of success.

The result of the latest exit poll would seem to support this.