Switzerland to vote in burka ban referendum

Swiss voters are to decide whether to ban face-covering garments like Muslim burkas and niqabs.

The government said a referendum on the ban, championed by far-right groups, will take place, after advocates gathered more than 100,000 signatures to put the initiative on the ballot under Switzerland's system of direct democracy, which lets voters decide major policy issues.

The executive Federal Council will set a date for the referendum, which is not expected before next year.

Passage would put Switzerland alongside France, Austria and other European countries in prohibiting face-covering garments.

The Italian-speaking Swiss region of Ticino brought in a ban last year.

The measure was proposed by a group including MPs from the nationalist Swiss People's Party that was also behind a ban on building minarets in Switzerland.


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