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Race remains open for vote on jobless benefits

The campaign of the opponents appears to be successful in the French-speaking part of the country Keystone

With ten days to go until a nationwide ballot on reform of the unemployment benefit scheme, opponents are gaining ground.

But the gfs.bern polling and research institute said on Wednesday that 48 per cent of people surveyed would vote in favour of plans to shore up the state jobless insurance scheme on September 26.

Thirty per cent were opposed to the reform – a rise of five per cent over the past month.

Claude Longchamp of gfs.bern said opposition was increasing, particularly in the French-speaking part of the country.

However, he stressed that the race was still open as more than 20 per cent of those interviewed were still undecided.

The reform measures include restrictions on eligibility particularly for young employees and a moderate increase in salary deductions to curb the scheme’s debts of SFr7 billion ($7 billion).

Longchamp added that public interest in the vote had been overshadowed by forthcoming cabinet elections. He said the campaign by opponents of the reform, mainly trade unions and centre-left parties, had had a limited impact.

Turnout is expected to be below average.

The poll, commissioned by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, was carried out among 1,206 citizens across the country.

Urs Geiser,

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR