• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Swiss voters to sink Swedish jet fighter deal

AFP · 12 Apr 2014, 08:22

Published: 12 Apr 2014 08:22 GMT+02:00

The survey by the gfs.bern polling institute showed that 52 percent of voters opposed the plan, while 42 percent were in favour. With just six percent of voters still to make up their minds, a turnaround by supporters of the fighter purchase appeared unlikely, the polling institute said. 

Approved by the government in 2011 and backed by parliament last September, the fighter deal cannot be blocked as such in the May 18 referendum.

But opponents have been able to contest legislation that allowed the purchase to be funded by tapping an annual 300 million Swiss francs (€246 million, $342 million) from the neutral country's military budget over 10 years.

The Swiss defence ministry has said that in the event the people reject the financing legislation, the decision will be respected, and that there is no back-up funding plan.

Switzerland opted for Saab's Gripen jets over the Rafale made by French company Dassault and the Eurofighter of pan-European firm EADS.

Supporters underline that in exchange for the sale, Saab and its engine supplier are contractually bound to sign business deals with Swiss firms worth 2.5 billion francs over the next decade.

Opponents dismiss that, and say that the 3.1-billion-franc price tag for the jets could end up tripling because of operating and maintenance costs as well as future upgrades.

The anti-deal coalition is steered by the left-leaning Socialists and Greens, plus anti-militarists who last year lost in a referendum in which voters bucked a European trend and kept their conscript army.

The Gripen's adversaries also include economic liberals opposed to the price.

Referendums form the cornerstone of Switzerland's system of direct democracy, and the campaigners forced a plebiscite by mustering more than 65,000 signatures from voters.

The Gripens are meant to replace Switzerland's three-decade-old fleet of 54 F-5 Tigers, built by US group Northrop.

Story continues below…

The Swiss air force also has 32 F/A 18 Super Hornets built by US company McDonnell Douglas, purchased in 1996.

The military notes that with a combined fleet of 54 Gripens and Super Hornets, Switzerland's fleet would lag far behind the 300 jets in service in the early 1990s.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ibrahimovic makes United debut in front of Swedes
Ibrahimovic endured a terrible Euro 2016. Photo: TT

”Everybody has been waiting for this,” says Mr Modesty.

Sweden to investigate citizens' sex lives
It has been 20 years since the last in-depth study of the sex habits of Swedes. Photo: Tammy McGary/Flickr

The Swedish government is to launch a major study of the sex lives of its citizens after reports that lovemaking is on the wane.

Russian 'terror suspect' held at Swedish airport walks free
File photo of Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

UPDATED: A 35-year-old man has been released from police custody after being arrested at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on Friday morning.

Northern Dispatches
'Moving to northern Sweden was the best thing we've done'
Photo: FB

In his farewell column, The Local’s northern Sweden correspondent, Paul Connolly, looks back at his first four years in Sweden.

Bear family just hanging out on Swedish golf course
Not the bear cub in question. But isn't he cute? Photo: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A bear family has been roaming a Swedish golf course, and the best thing of all is that no one cares.

The Local investigates
What do we actually know about the violence in Malmö?
Police investigating an explosion in Malmö on Thursday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

International media have presented a "distorted" view of a spate of Malmö shootings and an explosion, a senior police boss has told The Local.

The Local List
Reasons why Stockholm Pride is simply awesome
Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT.

Stockholm's Pride festival culminates on Saturday with a parade – and more than a few parties. Here's why we think it's pretty amazing.

Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions

Old Swedish bank notes worth 1.4 billion kronor are still circulating, according to the country’s central bank, despite them having been declared invalid a month ago.

Homes
In pictures: Why is Nordic design so hot right now?
Scandinavian design. Photo: House of Beatniks

Design agency Studio Esinam investigates together with Houzz.se why the world is falling in love with Nordic style.

Stockholm one of world's best places to live: magazine
Living the dream. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Stockholm is the tenth best city in the world to live in, reckons this British magazine.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Swedish cop makes arrest of the year
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,390
jobs available