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Liberal Glarus Ancient form of assembly rejects burka ban

By a traditional show of hands at an outdoor assembly, voters in Glarus on Sunday voted against a proposal to ban the burka in public places in the mountain canton. (SRF/swissinfo.ch) 

The plan was backed by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, which argued that the wearing of this most-concealing of all Islamic veils, covering the face and body, was a risk to security.

Both the Glarus cantonal government and parliament had recommended that voters reject the proposal, arguing it was better to wait and see whether efforts to introduce a nationwide burka ban would be successful. Members of the assembly agreed – a clear majority held high the red rejection papers. The result means that Ticino, which approved a burka ban in 2013, remains the only one of 26 Swiss cantons to do so.

The outdoor assembly, known locally as the “Landesgemeinde”, is regarded as one of the oldest forms of direct democracy in the world. Dating back to the Middle Ages, the system was once common in the rural mountain cantons of Switzerland.

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