The preliminary result of this Sunday’s plebiscite in Switzerland on the total prohibition of any kind of veil on women’s faces points to a victory of the ‘Yes’ by 52.7 percent in favor against 47.3 percent against, according to the percentages collected by Swiss Info, a few hours before the end of the count.
So far, 17 of the country’s 26 confirming cantons have approved the measure, which needed a majority in both percentage of population and number of cantons.
The result means that the ban must now be incorporated into the constitution and will apply in restaurants, stores and in public spaces.
The initiative has been promoted by the deputies of the conservative Union for a Democratic Center (UDC), which wants to ban the use of the burqa or the niqab, as well as other non-religious forms of concealing the face, and has been rejected by the rest of the parties of the Swiss political spectrum.
The SVP, on the other hand, argues that such a ban would help to prevent terrorist attacks and other forms of violence, and would facilitate the promotion of gender equality by freeing women who are “controlled, oppressed and held captive”.
The initiative’s steering committee has applauded the victory of the anti-burqa initiative. Jean-Luc Addor, deputy of the Democratic Union of the Center, saluted “all the leftist and Muslim personalities who have dared to commit themselves to this liberating initiative for women”.
Addor also believes that the text has been able to gather a broad front that goes far beyond the ranks of the SVP. “Some Muslims have understood that the niqab is an ostentatious manifestation of radical Islam,” he says.
It should be remembered that the Swiss approved in a referendum 12 years ago a proposal, backed by the right wing to ban the construction of new minarets. At the center of the campaign was a controversial poster showing a burqa-clad woman with missile-shaped minarets in the background.