On June 17, 2020, the Swiss National Council rejected, by 114 votes to 76 and 3 abstentions, the initiative “Yes to the ban on concealing the face.” Deemed to target the Muslim full veil, the initiative had already been refused in September 2019 by the Council of States, the other chamber of Parliament.
Only the Central Democratic Union (UDC) and part of the center supported this text after several hours of debate. The elected representatives of these parties mainly recalled the risks of a “parallel society” and brandished the “defense of women's rights.” The “cultural conventions” in force were also put forward.
The left and part of the liberal right, on the other hand, fought the initiative. They mainly criticize the text for proposing a “populist solution to a non-existent problem,” according to the daily Le Temps. Opponents obviously stress the “Islamophobic” nature of the initiative. It is also judged “contrary to individual freedoms and disproportionate,” since “very few women wear the full veil” in Switzerland. Already in force in Ticino since 2016, the headscarf ban has led to some thirty interventions.
The popular initiative “Yes to the ban on concealing the face” was initially tabled on September 15, 2017 by the Egerkingen Committee, which had already launched the initiative for the ban on the construction of minarets, approved by the Swiss in 2009. As stipulated in the Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation, it is now up to the people to vote on the text. The date of the vote has not yet been set.