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Swiss voters overwhelmingly reject call for more referendums on international treaties
GENEVA (AP) ' Swiss voters decided on Sunday that they have enough democracy already, dealing a heavy defeat to a proposal to hold more referendums on international treaties.
A nationalist group in the already referendum-happy Alpine republic wanted voters to have an automatic say every time their government signs an important international agreement.
But with ballots from 17 of the country's 26 cantons, or states, counted, none had voted in favor and opponents of the proposal were ahead by 73.3 percent of the vote to 26.7, Swiss television reported.
Since a proposal needs a majority of both voters and cantons to pass, that meant it had failed ' as was widely expected before the vote.
Most major parties opposed the measure, saying it could gridlock Swiss democracy with constant ballot calls. Switzerland already holds about half a dozen national referendums each year as well as local ones.
The Action for an Independent and Neutral Switzerland group, which made the proposal, wanted referendums whenever Switzerland submits to a foreign law or court ' particularly if it involves the European Union. Switzerland does not belong to the 27-nation bloc but is surrounded by it.
As things stand, all it takes is 50,000 signatures to force a national vote on a new law or treaty in Switzerland, a country of more than 7 million people. The bar is higher ' 100,000 signatures ' if grassroots groups want to propose completely new legislation, but such measures also are voted on frequently and sometimes succeed.