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Basel spoilt by the SVP

These posters are all over Basel. They refer to a referendum on June 1st and are the work of the Schweizerische Volkspartei (SVP) or Swiss People’s Party. They are the people responsible for the notorious black sheep poster campaign last Autumn, see here. In case the imagery is unclear the coloured hands are reaching for Swiss passports. Dog whistling is clearly not the preserve of our own prime minister.

The June 1st referendum seeks to reinstate a process that allowed local people to decide on the naturalization of a foreign citizen through a municipal vote.

This process was banned in 2003 by the Swiss Federal Court, which alleged that many citizenship applicants, particularly those of Balkan origin, were rejected unfairly by some communities. The SVP is in favour. More information here.

Although the SVP are the largest party in the Swiss National Council with 62 out of 200 seats they are out of step thankfully with the majority of Swiss opinion on this one which is 56% against the referendum compared to 33% for and 11% not sure.

Last year the black sheep campaign was widely covered by the UK press but the election result was not. The SVP increased their share of National Council seats from 55 to 62. Not a good advert for Swizerland.