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Swiss Say No to Basic Income for All - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Geneva-The Swiss have flatly rejected to provide the entire population with a basic income in a referendum on an initiative to give an unconditional, basic income (UBI) to each Swiss national, along with legal foreign residents.

Final results in the referendum showed 78 percent of voters opposed the proposal.

The group behind the initiative had suggested paying 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,500/2,300 euros) a month to each adult and 625 francs for each child.

Such a sum, however, would hardly cover basic living costs in Switzerland, which is one of the world’s priciest nations where the median income is above 6,000 francs a month.

Authorities have estimated an additional 25 billion francs would be needed annually to cover the costs, requiring deep spending cuts or steep tax hikes.

Supporters of the UBI initiative were not cowed by the resounding defeat, insisting that their main objective had been to get people talking about the idea.

“We are very happy,” Ralph Kundig, one of the lead campaigners, said.

According to Switzerland’s political system, which has a feature of direct democracy, the people rather than lawmakers vote on important issues.

The Swiss are invited three to four times yearly to vote on several issues proposed by the government or by certain groups from the population.

Campaigners need to collect 100,000 signatures to force a vote on their proposal.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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