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Swiss parties want to launch referendum against Eurovision funding

The Swiss Federal Democratic Union is opposing the funding allocated for hosting the 2025 Eurovision Song Contest in Switzerland. They have announced the launch of some referendums.

Meanwhile, the Swiss-German Taxpayers Federation, close to the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, is currently focusing on the Zurich’s bid.

The ultra-conservative Christian party, the Federal Democratic Union, says it opposes the evolution of the Eurovision Song Contest towards “increasing anti-Semitic incidents” as well as “more and more Satanist and occultist contributions”. They point to the recent protests in Malmö, Sweden, against Israel’s involvement in the event, prompted by the conflict in Gaza.

According to the Federal Democratic Union, these demonstrations suggest a heightened security risk when the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Switzerland next May. The party has stated its intention to launch a referendum against the funding allocated for the event by the involved cities – Zurich, Geneva, Basel, and Bern and Biel/Bienne.

Referendums planned in Zurich and Bern

On Tuesday, the committees of the Federal Democratic Union sections in the city and canton of Zurich decided to launch a referendum against the city’s CHF20 million ($22 million) framework loan, approved last Wednesday. The money is intended to co-finance the staging of the major event, if Zurich is chosen as host city for Eurovision. On Monday, the cantonal parliament approved a credit of CHF5 million.

Last Wednesday, the sections of the Federal Democratic Union in Bern decided to launch a referendum against the credit for the joint bid by Bern and Biel/Bienne. In the city of Bern, politicians from the Federal Democratic Union and some from the Green Party have filed a referendum proposal. At the cantonal level, the Swiss People’s Party and the Federal Democratic Union will launch a referendum if the credit of almost CHF30 million is accepted by the cantonal parliament.

Funding to be voted

The Federal Democratic Union is also targeting the credits granted to the Geneva and Basel applications. There, the credits have not yet been voted by the respective parliaments.

Currently, the Swiss-German Taxpayers Federation is concentrating on opposing Zurich’s bid. They argue there’s no justification for Zurich taxpayers to co-finance the Eurovision Song Contest, which they deem “a private event,” as stated on Tuesday. They plan to convene on Wednesday to decide whether to launch a referendum against the funding approved by the city.

Referendum in Zurich

The Swiss People’s Party’s youth wing announced on Tuesday that they are launching a referendum against the CHF20 million credit voted by the Zurich city parliament. The credit for “such a controversial major event” is in no way justified. The party expressed concern in a statement that public funds are being used to support an event that is being exploited for political statements.

The Swiss People’s Party’s youth wing cited the introduction of a third gender and “overt anti-Semitism”. They criticised the tolerance of anti-Semitism and discrimination at the event in Malmö. They launched a referendum to “promote our vision of a free and tolerant society” and to preserve Zurich’s reputation.

The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), SWI swissinfo.ch’s parent company, is due to choose the host city of the 2025 Eurovision Song Contest by the end of August, in consultation with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Possible referendums can only be considered at a later date.

Translated from French by DeepL/sp

This news story has been written and carefully fact-checked by an external editorial team. At SWI swissinfo.ch 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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