Switzerland has rejected a proposed rule to make major cuts to immigration—a measure that supporters backed as eco-friendly. It called for limiting immigration growth to 0.2% of the population each year in order to protect the country's beauty against overcrowding, AFP reports. That would have meant cutting the number of immigrants from about 80,000 per year to 16,000, the BBC notes, in a country where some 23% of the population is foreign.
The rejection by 74% of voters comes as little surprise following polls on the matter. All the country's political parties opposed it, AFP notes, citing xenophobia and economic concerns. But in Switzerland, if supporters of a movement get enough signatures, the country must hold a referendum on the matter, the BBC reports. And immigration wasn't the only issue the country voted on today, the AP reports. Another effort called for the Swiss national bank to keep a fifth of its reserves in the form of gold, a move which would have required vast gold purchases in the coming years had it not been opposed by 78% of voters.