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Swiss regain confidence in authorities

Public confidence in the authorities has increased sharply, according to a new survey. The poll also shows that unemployment remains the single biggest worry for the Swiss, closely followed by the question of refugees.

This content was published on February 18, 2000 - 18:50

Public confidence in the authorities has increased sharply, according to a new survey. The poll also shows that unemployment remains the single biggest worry for the Swiss, closely followed by the question of refugees.

The poll, a barometer of public opinion in 1999, found that 55 per cent of those questioned were satisfied with the work of the federal government, compared to 39 per cent in the previous survey. Confidence in the police also rose sharply, from 51 to 64 per cent.

But the biggest single concern is still unemployment, although the poll found that less people were worried about the job market last year than in previous years. Only 57 per cent of those questioned cited unemployment as a concern, against 74 per cent in 1998 and 81 per cent a year before.

Refugees are increasingly dominating the agenda. Some 56 per cent of those polled said it was an important issue. That is more than double the number who were asked the question four years ago. Experts say the increase is a direct result of the flood of asylum seekers from the former Yugoslavia.

The survey continues to reveal marked differences between the preoccupations in the French and German-speaking parts of Switzerland. The refugee question is less significant in the French-speaking part, where it ranked fifth in the list of priorities.

Conversely, old-age pensions were the second most important concern for the French Swiss but fifth for the German Swiss.

For the first time, the differences between individual cantons were highlighted. In cantons Lucerne and Geneva, for example, unemployment was the number one priority but noticeably less so in Zurich, Schwyz and St Gallen.

Other concerns have remained fairly constant including the health system and relations with Europe. About 1,000 people were questioned in the survey, which was commissioned by the Credit Suisse bank.

From staff and wire reports

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