I am “proud and honoured” to fight for the future of Switzerland’s “direct democracy and the next generations.”


Switzerland, a country in Central Europe with a population of about 8.8 million, must maintain the population at most ten million by 20250. Switzerland plans to hold a referendum to maintain this population goal through strict immigration controls. The right-wing party initiated public votes to collate signatures to propel this referendum. On Wednesday, the populist Swiss People’s Party submitted to the Federal Chancellery a petition that complied with the requirements necessary for the government to call a referendum.


If a petition reaches 100,000 signatures within 18 months of being launched, it can be considered a referendum on any matter under Switzerland’s direct democracy system. Within nine months, the UDC had collected 114,600 signatures in support of its demand that the Swiss government adopt “sustainable demographic development” measures to limit the country’s permanent resident population to no more than 10 million by the year 2050.


The plan requires Swiss authorities to take swift action once the number of permanent residents exceeds 9.5 million. This may involve, for instance, preventing migrants from acquiring residence cards, Swiss citizenship, or any other form of authorization to remain in the nation. This decision may also force Switzerland to withdraw from various international treaties, including the United Nations Global Compact for Migration and its bilateral agreement with the European Union on free movement.


Recently, Swiss politicians took to social media to refer to the initiative, which “serves to preserve our values: independence, direct democracy, sovereignty, and freedom. But it is also a policy in the municipalities that guarantees the safety, services, and well-being of all of us.”

“Since 2023, for the first time, more than 9 million people have been living in our country,” said UDC National Councillor and Group Chairman Thomas Aeschi. “Last year, an additional 98,851 people immigrated to our country. Added to this are more than 30,000 asylum seekers.”

The right-wing populist party further emphasised that rising immigration had resulted in “housing shortages and rising rents, traffic jams on the roads, crowded trains and buses, falling standards of schools, increasing violence and crime, electricity shortages, income stagnating per capita, ever-higher health insurance premiums, indebted social services, and increased pressure on the beauty of the landscape and the preservation of nature.”

Following the 2020 rejection of a comparable referendum to stop free movement of persons with the European Union by a margin of 62% to 38%, the initiative is the most recent effort by the UDC to impose the matter on immigration.


By Chidimma NWAFOR

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