Swiss to vote for new parliament

The Swiss People’s Party has called for an end to mass immigration

23 October 2011 Last updated at 00:37

Swiss voters are set to elect a new parliament, with the far-right expected to strengthen its position.

The Swiss People’s Party (SVP), already the country’s largest party, has campaigned on an anti-immigration platform.

The SVP won nearly 29% of the vote in the last election in 2007.

Since then it has successfully campaigned for a ban on minarets and for the automatic deportation of foreigners who commit certain crimes.

One of the party’s posters this year show black legs marching into Switzerland under the headline “Now it is enough”.

The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes reports from Berne that many voters complain Switzerland is becoming too crowded, though Swiss business leaders say the country’s economy needs immigrant workers.

Switzerland has an unemployment rate of just 2.8%, and many Swiss businesses and the health service rely on foreign labour.

Foreigners account for about 25% of Switzerland’s population.

The SVP has already collected enough signatures to force a nationwide referendum aimed at severely limiting immigration – a move that would contravene Switzerland’s agreement with the EU on free movement of labour and put Swiss access to European markets at risk, our correspondent says.

Environmental parties are also expected to strengthen their position in Sunday’s vote.

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