POST TIME: 24 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Swiss vote on regional ‘burqa ban’, GMOs

Swiss vote on regional ‘burqa ban’, GMOs

A referendum in Switzerland’s northeastern St. Gallen region yesterday is expected to usher in a “burqa ban”, making it the second Swiss canton to prohibit all face-covering garments in public spaces, reports AFP from Geneva.

At the same time, voters across Switzerland are being asked to cast their ballots on initiatives aimed at boosting local farming and promoting “ethical standards” in food production, including turning a moratorium on genetically modified crops into a full-out ban.

St. Gallen is expected to follow the example of the southern canton of Ticino, where a law was introduced two years ago that appeared to be aimed at burqas and other Muslim veils.

St. Gallen lawmakers late last year adopted a text which stipulated that “any person who renders themselves unrecognisable by covering their face in a public space, and thus endangers public security or social and religious peace will be fined.”

The law passed the regional parliament with support from the populist right and centre parties.

Now the issue goes up for public approval Sunday after the Green Party and Young Socialists demanded a referendum.

Switzerland’s government last year opposed an initiative aimed at creating a nationwide burqa ban, saying it should be up to the regions to determine if such measures are appropriate.

Voters across Switzerland are however expected to be called to vote on the issue next year after the populist right-wing Swiss People’s Party gathered the 100,000 signatures needed to put any subject to a referendum as part of Switzerland’s famous direct democratic system.