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Switzerland: triggers referendum against F-35 aircraft

All signatures collected, now Swiss authorities will set date for vote

Peace activists have collected more than 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a national referendum asking Swiss citizens whether or not they will endorse the Swiss government's decision to buy 36 F-35 fighter-bomber planes produced by US defense group Lockheed Martin. A deal worth 6.1 billion dollars and on which Bern has until March 2023 to sign the contract.

Collecting signatures requires the Swiss executive, as required by the constitution, to set a date for popular consultation on the F-35 and to respect the outcome. Public opinion in the country, however, appears divided: liberals (Fdp) call the referendum an "abuse", while social democrats, greens and activists argue that the F-35 is "a luxury aircraft".

Bern chose the F-35 military aircraft after a competition with the Super Hornet produced by American Boeing, the Rafale by French Dassault Aviation and the Eurofighter Typhoon built by a European consortium. The cost controversy now also intersects with industrial lobbying, with France reportedly promising billion-dollar discounts on the Rafale fighter. 

On the same topic see also the article published by AVIONEWS.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency