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Voters rejected urban sprawl curbs due to adequate laws

A study shows that Swiss voters threw out a proposal last February aimed at curbing urban sprawl as most people felt that existing rules were sufficient.

A Voto study published on Thursday revealed that over 80% of Swiss citizens believe green spaces and farmland should be better protected. Nevertheless, on February 10 almost 64% of Swiss voters rejected a proposed freeze on construction zones across the country. The initiative had been launched by the youth chapter of the Green Party.

Analysing the initiative results, Voto researchers found that most people voted ‘No’ in February as they felt existing laws were sufficient to combat urban sprawl. A majority of people questioned felt the initiative had been too restrictive and had sought to impose too many rules.

Most Green Party supporters (91%) backed the initiative. Meanwhile, 80% of people who said they were centre-right supporters rejected the proposal. Centre-left Social Democrats and Green Liberals were split. Of those who gave their support, two-thirds said they backed it for environmental reasons, while 10% said existing laws were insufficient.

The 37.9% turnout for the February ballot was below average, despite a lively but short public campaign. The Voto survey revealed that 44% of those who didn’t vote said it was because they had forgotten, 34% said they had ill or had been on holiday, while 32% said they were not interested in the urban sprawl issue.

The VOTO survey, financed by the Federal Chancellery, was conducted by the Centre for Democracy Studies Aarau (ZDA), the FORS research institute and the polling institute Link. It was conducted from February 12 to 26, 2019, with 1,517 voters.

Keystone SDA/sb