Basic income plan largely rejected by Swiss voters in referendum

Updated: 2016-06-06 09:10


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Basic income plan largely rejected by Swiss voters in referendum

People cast their ballots during a vote on whether to give every adult citizen a basic guaranteed monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,560), in a school in Bern, Switzerland, June 5, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

GENEVA - A proposal to implement unconditional basic income in Switzerland was shunned by 76.9 percent of voters in a federal referendum on Sunday, with only 23.1 percent backing the plan.

The confederation is the first country in the world to hold such a plebiscite, though results show that efforts to grant basic income to individuals regardless of their working status failed to secure the 50 percent required to constitutionally cement the initiative.

Advocates have suggested that adults, whether employed or not, would receive a basic income of 2,500 CHF per month, with 625 CHF granted to children and adolescents.

Proponents argued that this would increase equality while ensuring that everybody enjoys both a dignified and financially secure existence.

Opponents, including the Swiss government, deemed the project too costly. It also believed that it would weaken the Swiss economy, challenge the ethical value of work as well as attract foreign migrants.

"The Federal Council welcomes the discussion about value and future shape of the work...however, it considers the introduction of a basic income a too risky experiment," the Swiss government indicated in a pamphlet on the matter.

"It would endanger the economic success and social achievements of Switzerland," it added.

Sunday's plebiscite was one of five nationwide issues being decided upon by Swiss voters.