23 Sep 2013

Compulsory military service upheld in Switzerland

6:06 am on 23 September 2013

Exit polls from a national referendum in Switzerland suggest voters want to keep compulsory military service.

Voting trends indicate a large majority of Swiss rejected plans to abolish conscription.

The BBC reports obligatory duty in the armed forces is seen as still the best way to defend the country, which is neutral.

The vote on conscription was the third in Switzerland on the matter in almost 25 years. Pacifists and left-wing parties campaigned for abolition.

Supports argue it helps to bring together a country with three main language groups: German, French and Italian.

"Abolishing military service would break the genuine link uniting the people and the army," Defence Minister Ueli Maurer said.