- Title: SWITZERLAND: REFERENDUM VOTERS SUPPORT JOINING THE UNITED NATIONS
- Date: 4th March 2002
- Summary: (U5) GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (MARCH 3, 2002) (REUTERS) 1. SLV VOTING BUREAU INTERIOR; MV MAN IN CHARGE OF BUREAU OPENING BALLOT BOXES PUTTING ON TABLE AND COUNTING; SCU ELECTRONIC COUNTING MACHINES; CU BALLOT PAPERS (16 SHOTS) 1.25 2. MV/SCU PEOPLE WATCHING RESULTS INSIDE CHANCELLERY; SCU SCREENS SHOWING RESULTS (5 SHOTS) 1.50 3. (SOUNDBITE) (French) LILIANE MAURY PASQUIER, PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL SAYING "I am happy with the result and glad the Swiss decided to join. I appreciate particularly the high rate of participation. We are very proud." 2.32 4. SCU RESULTS ON TELEVISION MONITOR 2.36 5. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SVP (Swiss People's Party) PARTY MEMBER (THE ONLY PARTY IN OPPOSITION) JACQUES PAGAN SAYING "I am very disappointed. We are starting a big adventure but we don't know if the promises made by the Federal Council (government) will become a reality. I still think we were right to be against." 2.59 5. SLV EXTERIOR CHANCELLERY 3.04 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 19th March 2002 12:00
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Reuters ID: LVA6W8NI7FRREDZ29R8ODGX9WURF
- Story Text: Swiss voters have supported joining the United Nations
in a watershed national referendum that helps define the
staunchly neutral country's changing relations with the rest
of the world, Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss said.
The centuries-old Swiss tradition of political
isolationism hung in the balance as early returns from a
referendum were too close to call.
According to projected results from cantons compiled by
the DRS state broadcaster, the "yes" camp won a majority of
both the popular vote and of cantons, as required under the
Swiss system of direct democracy.
Earlier Swiss Radio projected a thin majority of voters
would back membership, but said it could not predict whether
supporters would also secure the majority of cantons, or
regional states, that Switzerland's complex system of direct
And the word on the streets was also very close - some in
favour of joining, some against it. "I am happy with the
result and glad the Swiss decided to join. I appreciate
particularly the high rate of participation. We are very
proud," said Liliane Maury Pasquier, president of the National
Council. But Jacques Pagan, member of the only party that
opposed the joining, said: "I am very disappointed. We are
starting a big adventure but we don't know if the promises
made by the Federal Council (government) will become a
reality. I still think we were right to be against."
Although Switzerland is deeply engaged in U.N. activities
and hosts its European headquarters, its fierce neutrality and
independent-mindedness have kept it from becoming a full
member. The Vatican is the only other state to stand aloof
from the U.N.
The last major opinion poll, published in February, found
54 percent of eligible Swiss voters surveyed favoured joining,
up from 50 percent a month earlier.
The opponents' share held steady at 37 percent, while the
number of undecided voters in the poll slipped to nine percent
from 13. The GfS survey of 1,271 eligible voters had a margin
of error of 3.5 percent.
The cantonal voting system lends extra weight to small,
German-speaking regions traditionally wary of the wider world.
Based on ballots sent in by post, the way most Swiss
vote and the reason there are no exit polls in Switzerland,
turnout will be above 50 percent, relatively high for a
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