Voters have clearly rejected – by 58.9% to 41.1% – an initiative to automatically deport foreigners who commit certain crimes.

Only six of 26 cantons – Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz, Uri, Appenzell Inner Rhoden and Ticino – approved the controversial initiative.

The result does not change the fact, however, that people without a Swiss passport – a quarter of the Swiss population – who commit a serious crime (or two lesser crimes within ten years) could still be deported for up to 15 years.

The leftwing Social Democratic Party wrote on Sunday of a “historic victory”, saying the public had defeated the People’s Party’s “totalitarian claim to power” and the “far-right spiral of radicalisation” had been stopped.

Flavia Kleiner, head of the NGO committee against the so-called enforcement initiative, said the outcome was a signal to the People’s Party leadership that the public had had enough of their scaremongering.

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