GENEVA – Switzerland's executive council says it opposes a referendum to ban face coverings such as the veils worn by some Muslim women but plans a "counter-project" that would prohibit requiring anyone to cover his or her face.
The Federal Council said in a statement on Wednesday that it thinks the question of banning concealing garments such as costume masks and burqas is better left to regions to decide.
The council says its project is "clearly indicating that it doesn't accept constraints placed on women."
The Italian-speaking Ticino region of Switzerland already bans face wear, while five other Swiss regions rejected similar proposals.
The government says regions "must themselves decide the approach to have toward veiled tourists from the Arab world."
Far-right groups have successfully petitioned for a nationwide referendum on the issue.