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Monday, June 02, 2008

Switzerland voters reject citizenship-limiting initiative in referendum
Deirdre Jurand at 8:31 AM ET

[JURIST] Swiss voters Sunday rejected by roughly 64-36 percent [provisional official results, in German] a referendum initiative [question text, in German; information page, in German] that would have allowed municipalities control over granting Swiss passports without the possibility of appeal for applicants. The Swiss Supreme Court found in 2003 that a similar policy was unconstitutional [ruling, in German] for being discriminatory, but the nationalistic Swiss People's Party [party website, in German] had urged the referendum to reduce the influence of outside cultures on Switzerland and ensure better-integrated immigrants. All but one municipality and 64 percent of voters rejected the proposal, aligning with the federal parliament's recommendation [referendum materials, in German]. The International Herald Tribune has more. Swissinfo has local coverage.

Switzerland already has one of the most involved and difficult citizenship processes [Globe and Mail report] in Europe. Under current Swiss law, municipalities decide the methods by which immigrants may seek citizenship, but applicants must have lived in Switzerland for 12 years and be familiar with the language and culture. Rejected applicants have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court.

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