Swiss voters look set to reject gold initiative: SRF

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 30, 2014 6:41 AM

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss voters looked set to reject two closely-watched referendums on Sunday that would have forced the central bank to buy up massive amounts of gold and introduced strict new limits on immigration, threatening Switzerland's close economic ties to the European Union.

An initial analysis of the voting trend from Swiss broadcaster SRF showed voters were likely to have turned down the "Save our Swiss gold" initiative.

Proposed by the right-wing Swiss People's Party out of concern that the Swiss National Bank (SNB) has already sold too much gold, the measure would have compelled the SNB to boost its gold reserves to 20 percent from around 8 percent currently. This would have severely complicated policy at a time when the central bank is trying to defend a 1.20 euro cap on the Swiss franc imposed at the height of the euro crisis.

Voters were also set to reject a separate initiative that aimed to cut annual immigration by three-quarters from current levels in order to reduce the strain on Switzerland's pristine natural environment, the trend analysis showed.

Were the measure to pass, it would endanger government attempts to salvage a raft of treaties with the EU, its biggest trading partner, that are conditional on Switzerland's commitment to the free movement of labor.

A third referendum aimed at scrapping a tax perk for wealthy foreigners was also set to be defeated.

(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian. Editing by Caroline Copley.)