Swiss parliament approves 'burqa ban', sets fine for violators
The National Council voted 151-29 for the legislation, which was already approved by the upper house. It was pushed through by the right-wing, populist Swiss People's Party, easily overcoming reticence expressed by centrists and the Greens.
The move follows a nationwide referendum two years ago in which Swiss voters narrowly approved forbidding niqabs and burqas, as well as ski masks and bandannas that are worn by some protesters.
With the lower house vote, parliament cemented the ban into federal law and set a fine of up to 1,000 francs (about $1,100) for violators.
The measure prohibits covering the nose, mouth and eyes in both public spaces and private buildings accessible to the public, though it does allow for some exceptions.
Few women in Switzerland wear full face coverings like burqas.
Two Swiss cantons – southern Ticino and northern St. Gallen – already have similar laws. The national legislation will put Switzerland in line with countries such as Belgium and France that have enacted similar measures.