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Army budget and jets given green light

Parliament has approved an annual budget of SFr5 billion ($5.6 billion) for Switzerland’s armed forces, including the purchase of fighter jets.

The Senate on Wednesday followed the House of Representatives in agreeing to pay for the new aircraft, despite opposition by the centre-left which is concerned about costs in other areas. Critics also pointed out that the bill could not be challenged to a referendum.

The armed forces will be reduced from 200,000 troops to a minimum of 100,000.

The government, which had proposed 80,000 troops and an annual budget of SFr4.4 billion, wanted to delay the purchase of the aircraft.

The pacifist group Switzerland Without an Army said it was considering launching an initiative next May to let voters have the final say on new combat aircraft. and agencies

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