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Swiss Voters Ease Citizenship Rules For Immigrants’ Grandchildren

People walk by a campaign poster urging Switzerland to vote no in a proposed referendum on granting citizenship to the grandchildren of immigrants, which sparked anti-Muslim sentiment in some quarters.

Swiss voters have chosen to ease rules for for third-generation immigrants to gain citizenship.

Swiss broadcaster SRF said the proposal was backed in the February 12 national referendum by just over 60 percent of voters.

Being born in Switzerland doesn't automatically confer citizenship in Switzerland and some other European countries.

The passed measure now gives young people whose parents and grandparents have lived in Switzerland for years a simplified path to citizenship.

An estimated 25,000 people are estimated to be eligible for the new process.

The campaign leading up to the vote saw reports of anti-Muslim messages.

The government and most lawmakers and political parties support the proposal.

Nearly 60 percent of them are Italians, with other large segments from the Balkans and Turkey.

The far-right nationalist Swiss People's Party opposed the measure, highlighting what it says are the risks of more Muslims becoming citizens and the possible "loss of Swiss values."

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa