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Swiss canton of Jura celebrates triumph through ‘conviction’

The President of the Jura Government Rosalie Beuret Siess, left, Federal Councillor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider, centre, and the President of the Jura Parliament Pauline Godat, right, march in a parade down the street
Swiss Interior Minister Elisabeth Baume-Schneider (centre in red jacket), who comes from canton Jura, walks next to Rosalie Beuret Siess, President of the Jura government and minister of finance (centre in white jacket). Keystone / Jean-Christophe Bott

Citizens and officials from canton Jura on Sunday celebrated the 50th anniversary of a historic referendum that led to the creation of Switzerland's youngest canton.

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“Democratic reason has triumphed. The Jura struggle was won by conviction and not by coercion,” declared Interior Minister Elisabeth Baume-Schneider at an event at the Théâtre du Jura on Sunday.

She praised the tireless efforts of everyone involved in the birth of canton Jura on January 1, 1979 after decades of struggle.

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Five years earlier, the seven districts of Jura had approved the creation of the canton in a referendum on June 23, 1974, by a narrow majority of 51.94%.

Baume-Schneider also praised the generosity of the people of canton Bern, who in 1978 agreed to the departure of three districts to form part of the new canton.

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The secretary general of the Jura Autonomist Movement (MAJ), Pierre-André Comte, said he hoped the young people of Jura would take up the torch “to revive patriotic vigour”.

His words were directed at the commune of Belprahon in canton Bern, which is still trying to join canton Jura. It’s larger neighbour, the commune of Moutier, will officially join Jura on January 1, 2026.

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Significant challenges remain, however. “The arrival of Moutier and the redefinition of our cantonal borders offer us the opportunity to make a fresh start, all together,” said Rosalie Beuret Siess, president of the Jura government and minister of finance. She firmly believes the canton must rethink the way it works.

Although Moutier’s arrival comes at a price, it should above all be seen as a timely gift for a canton that has to operate in a complicated environment, she added.

Adapted from German by DeepL/dkk/sb

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI we select the most relevant news for an international audience and use automatic translation tools such as DeepL to translate it into English. Providing you with automatically translated news gives us the time to write more in-depth articles.

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