Our Bureau
01:43 PM, September 30, 2013

The Swiss Parliament today approved the acquisition of 22 Gripen fighter aircraft, including related funding of SEK 3.126 billion on the basis of an independent fund.

The National Council has approved the proposal by 119 votes to 71, with 4 abstentions, and the Council of States by 25 votes to 17. 

The PS, the Greens and the Liberal Greens have already announced they will seek a referendum to oppose the acquisition of the fighters. The date of the referendum will be published in the coming days in the Federal Gazette. 

If 50,000 signatures are collected within 100 days, the last word will rest with the people, who will then decide in a referendum likely to be held in May or September 2014. 

The referendum vote would be on the law that regulates the Gripen fund, which will finance the acquisition of the 22 aircraft. 

It is expected that the military will pay about 300 million francs annually, for 10 years, into an independent fund to finance these aircraft. These 300 million would be taken from the overall budget of the armed forces, which currently stands at 4.7 billion francs.

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