Swiss set clocks for Gripen vote

Democracy’s a wonderful thing for those of us lucky enough to have it, but it can also be a little bit bonkers, to the casual observer.

Switzerland’s ongoing efforts to buy 22 new fighters provides today’s example. The nation’s parliament late last year gave its approval to the proposed deal with Saab (company-sourced image below), but then came a pause while everyone waited to see whether the matter would face a public referendum.

Now we know that it will, with the vote to happen on Sunday, 18 May.

Gripen DEW Line

So, for a nation of roughly 8 million citizens,  just how much opposition did it take to force this step? At least 50,000 signatures were required in support of a petition, and in the case of the one against the Gripen Fund Law the “no” campaign succeeded in getting almost 65,400. All power to the Swiss for having such a system in place, but I suspect that things would grind to a halt in the UK if we were to follow their model.

I’m guessing there might be the odd billboard and advert from industry appearing over the next four months. Just be sure to have your say, folks!

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6 Responses to Swiss set clocks for Gripen vote

  1. Ed 30 January, 2014 at 11:52 am #

    So what was the opposition’s gripe with the gripen (ha, ha) again? Insufficient capability?

    In that case I sure as heck hope they won’t complain if they get only 12 Eurofighters or Rafales in an eventual new dew, or if they’d have to pay way more for a similar number of planes.

    Can’t have it all!

    • Thomas 30 January, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

      No, no figthers at all is their gripe.

    • Craig Hoyle 30 January, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

      For the large part, I think those backing the “no” campaign don’t want a new fighter at all, but to spend the money on public services. I guess it’s hard to see why you need he capability when you live somewhere peaceful.

  2. DJ 31 January, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    If anything, I’d be voting to increase the order severalfold – a few dozen Gripens and Hornets does not seem much of a force to defend Switzerland’s neutrality.

    This particular issue has been raised by an alliance of greens and socialists, plus anti-spend economists.

    There’s hope for Saab though, provided the company steers clear of overtly supporting the pro side – a vote to dispense with Switzerland’s conscription army was defeated last year.

  3. Carey 18 February, 2014 at 12:54 am #

    I’m sure this will sway the voters to spend more on the Swiss airforce:

    Swiss fighters grounded during hijacking as outside office hours

    “Switzerland cannot intervene because its airbases are closed at night and on the weekend,” he said, adding: “It’s a question of budget and staffing.”

  4. K.B. 19 February, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    I´m not sure, that the Ethiopian Airlines incident favours the Gripen procurement.

    If the Air Force is not able to protect the own airspace against a Boeing 767 with 53 F-5, why to procure 22 Gripen?

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