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1971 to 2016 Votes that caused high voter turnout

With around 63% of voters participating, February 28, 2016, saw the highest turnout in Switzerland since the 1992 ballot on whether to join the European Economic Area (EEA). Why? The answer lies in two votes on sensitive topics: enforcing the deportation of convicted foreigners and building another road tunnel through the Gotthard massif in the Swiss Alps.

Voter turnout has been nearing record levels, at least since women gained the vote in 1971. One contributory factor was the mobilisation of civil society. Over the past months, opponents pushed hard for the rejection of the initiative to expel criminal foreigners, as put forward by the conservative right Swiss People’s Party. Other driving forces were the Gotthard road tunnel vote and various cantonal elections.

Over the past 45 years, the Swiss population has regularly turned out en masse to vote on topics linked to foreigners or the European Union. brings you a pictorial overview of the votes that have sparked the most interest among the Swiss electorate.

(Text: Stefania Summermatter; Image selection: Thomas Kern)

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