Swiss voters set to back COVID-19 law, crackdown on pesticides: poll

FILE PHOTO: A Swiss flag is pictured on the Mont-Blanc bridge, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Geneva, Switzerland, March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss voters are set to back government measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic and to support a crackdown on pesticide use -- in defiance of Bern's wishes -- in binding referendums next month, a poll for broadcaster SRF showed on Friday.

Parliament passed the COVID-19 act in September, but critics of the steps to restrict public life and provide financial support to the economy forced a vote on them under the Swiss system of direct democracy.

The SRF poll showed two-thirds of voters backed the measures, 27% opposed them and 6% were undecided or had no opinion.

Bern faces a tougher test in other matters up for binding votes on June 13.

A campaign to ban subsidies for farmers who use pesticides or routinely administer antibiotics to animals won 54% support in the poll, despite the government's appeal to reject the plan that it says could cut farm output and fuel food imports.

A separate campaign to ban artificial pesticides and outlaw the import of foodstuffs that use them was winning 55% support, according to the poll. The government opposes the idea.

A law giving police more power to take preventative measures in cases of suspected extremist threats looks set to win backing from two out of three voters, while three of out five voters support legislation to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

The poll of nearly 23,000 eligible voters conducted by gfs.bern had a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

(Reporting by Michael Shields, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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