Swiss voters reject plan to scrap military draft
GENEVA (AFP) - Swiss voters on Sunday overwhelmingly rejected a referendum calling for an end to the country's military draft, with 73 per cent casting ballots against the plan, exit polls showed.
In a country whose part-time army is ingrained in the national image - and seen abroad as being as Swiss as cheese, chocolate and Heidi - voters bucking a post-Cold War European trend against conscription was no surprise.
But the exit polls by the gfs.bern institute for public broadcaster RTS showed that opposition to the plan was a full 10 percentage points higher than forecast over recent days.
Armed neutrality has been the cornerstone of Switzerland's defence policy for almost two centuries, with soldiers straddling the civilian and military worlds, keeping their weapons at home when they are not in training.