‘No’ Vote Prevails in Swiss Referendum

Advocates of the Save our Swiss Gold campaign were left disappointed on Sunday (November 30), as the referendum returned a ‘no’ verdict.

Over three-quarters (77 per cent) of voters rejected plans that would have resulted in Switzerland moving to a de-facto gold standard.

Under a ‘yes’ result, the Swiss government would need to retain at least 20 per cent of its balance sheet in gold bullion, as well as repatriating any reserves currently held abroad.

This could have had a number of ramifications on the country’s economy and international gold markets.

In order to pass, the referendum needed to secure a 50 per cent ‘yes’ vote. However, every canton in the country returned a majority ‘no’ outcome.

The vote was held alongside two other referendums on the same day, with the Swiss also asked to decide on immigration caps and current tax laws.

‘No’ votes were also returned in these referendums. The first poll would have limited immigration numbers to 0.2 per cent of the population, while the other aimed to end tax breaks on income and wealth charges for wealthy foreigners.

Commenting on the Save our Swiss Gold initiative, one industry commentator claimed proponents failed to put enough thought into the campaign.

Writing for Forbes, Steve Forbes said the restrictions suggested failed to make economic sense even for those who support a return to the gold standard. For example, the country would have been prevented from selling any of its gold reserves, a policy he described as “ludicrous”.

“Under all gold standards, including the legendary classical gold standard that was in place from the end of the Napoleonic wars until the outbreak of World War I, countries routinely have bought and sold gold,” he explained.

“In fact, you can’t have a genuine gold standard with such a prohibition.”

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