Poll: most Swiss are reluctant to increase defence spending

Switzerland's annual defence budget stands at CHF5 billion. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

A majority of the Swiss population is not in favour of increasing spending on defence, despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, a new survey reveals. However, they support the government’s existing plan to buy replacement fighter jets.

This content was published on March 21, 2022 - 12:23

The online poll published on Monday by the Tamedia newspaper group found that 45% of respondents believe the neutral country's army budget, which currently stands at CHF5 billion ($5.3 billion), should be increased. Meanwhile, 41% say the army has enough resources and 8% want to reduce its budget.

Increased military spending is backed primarily by supporters of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party (62%) and the centre-right Radical Party (61%). But there is strong opposition from the left (73% of Greens and 70% of Social Democrats said “No”).

Among those seeking an increase in spending, half said the budget should rise by CHF1-2 billion.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the issue of new fighter jets has been keenly discussed again in Switzerland. The authorities plan to purchase 36 F-35A jets from the US company Lockheed-Martin to replace its ageing fleet.

The CHF6 billion ($6.37 billion) credit for the deal was narrowly approved by Swiss voters in 2020, but left-wing campaigners who oppose the idea of buying US planes have started gathering signatures to force another ballot.

The Tamedia poll found that three out of five people would reject the proposal launched by leftwing oppenents including the Group for a Switzerland without an Army.

The online survey was conducted by the LeeWas Institute on behalf of Tamedia between from March 16-18 among 12,437 people.

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