Moutier to join canton Jura

Jurassic jubilee after the vote result was announced Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

Voters in the Swiss town of Moutier have decided to leave canton Bern and join canton Jura.

This content was published on March 28, 2021 - 18:24

Sunday’s result was 2,114 “yes” votes against 1,740 “no” votes, or 54.9% in favour. Already in 2017, residents had narrowly voted in favour of a change of canton, but the Bernese judicial authorities later declared the result invalid due to irregularities.

There was then an unprecedented effort to repeat the vote this Sunday, with the federal authorities sending out forgery-proof voting documents and supervising the ballot counting on site.

It remains to be seen whether the result of this vote will stand. Until recently there was a polemic about the voting register after accusations of vote tourism were voiced in 2017. The local government is aiming for a transfer on January 1, 2026.

Because of the pandemic, this time the referendum campaign took place mainly via social media. The arguments were the same as in 2017: the separatists argued that a change of canton would provide Moutier with better prospects. The “remainers” warned of years of uncertainty because of the necessary division of property.

The pandemic also dominated the voting day. As a precautionary measure, the municipal council banned rallies and divided the town into two zones in which separatists and Bern loyalists were kept apart.

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