In brief

Swiss town of Moutier votes again to leave Bern, join Jura

55% of voters approve changing canton in referendum

Jura government welcomes during press conference the referendum result.
Jura government welcomes during press conference the referendum result. Author: Canton du Jura
The Swiss town of Moutier has voted for the second time to leave from the canton of Bern and to join the neighbouring canton of Jura. The border change could take place in 2026. The referendum is a further step in the process of internal self-determination of the Jurassic people, which began in the 1970s.

55% of voters approved on 28 March Moutier’s accession into the canton of Jura. The Jura government has voiced its “enthusiasm and joy” over the result and has said it is preparing to “welcome” Moutier on 1 January 2026. In another statement, the canton of Bern has regretted the decision of the voters and has explained that the governments of the two cantons will draw up an “intercantonal agreement” to prepare the transfer of Moutier. This agreement must be validated in a referendum by the citizens of the two cantons.

This is the second time that Moutier, where nearly 7,500 people live, is holding the referendum. In June 2017, 52% of Moutier voters had already backed the pro-Jura option. In November 2018, however, the vote was declared invalid due to several irregularities. The canton of Bern agreed in 2020 that the vote be repeated.

The canton of Jura, mostly French-speaking and Catholic, seceded from Bern, mostly German-speaking and Protestant, in a process that lasted five years, from 1974 to 1979. The municipalities of the southern half of the Jura region, French-speaking but Protestant, chose to remain with Bern.

The Jurassic political movement continued to mobilise to achieve the unity of the entire Jurassic people —that is, the Francophones of Bern, whether Catholics or Protestants— through a new referendum, which took place in 2013. The Bernese Jurassic municipalities voted again to stay with Bern (72% of the vote) with the exception of Moutier, where supporters of joining the Jura canton won the vote. This opened the door to the holding of the 2017 referendum in that town only.