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Swiss vote on whether to curb immigration by EU citizens 'too close to call'

Published on Feb 9, 2014 10:16 PM
 
A man casts his ballot during a nationwide popular vote at a polling station in Ascona on Sunday, Feb 9, 2014. Swiss voters were split down the middle on Sunday on whether to curb immigration by European Union citizens, a polling agency said, in a referendum seen as a crunch test of the neutral country's ties with the 28-member bloc. -- PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (AFP) - Swiss voters were split down the middle on Sunday on whether to curb immigration by European Union citizens, a polling agency said, in a referendum seen as a crunch test of the neutral country's ties with the 28-member bloc.

Based on a combination of partial results and estimates, the gfs.bern public opinion institute said the result appeared too close to call. It estimated that 50 per cent of voters had backed either side in the Stop Mass Immigration referendum, with a margin of error of 3 per cent.

The measure was crafted by the powerful right-wing populist Swiss People's Party, which is hawkish about the sovereignty of this non-EU member state and says the country is being swamped.

The vote was also being watched closely by eurosceptics within the EU who want to rein in immigration among its member states, notably from eastern to western Europe.

 
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