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    The Swiss narrowly agreed to an increase in the retirement age for women from 64 to 65. According to the provisional official result, 51 percent of voters in the referendum on Sunday voted for the initiative to stabilize the pension fund. An increase in VAT from 7.7 to 8.1 percent should also ensure sufficient funds in the pension fund. 56 percent voted for this step. During the referendum, citizens were also asked for their opinion on an end to factory farming. 63 percent rejected this. Voter turnout was around 52 percent.

    The increase in the retirement age should stabilize the pension fund for at least the next ten years. According to the government, the step is necessary because baby boomers are reaching retirement age and life expectancy is increasing. Left and unions rejected the increase. "This is not a good day for women", said an opponent of the initiative on Swiss television. First, it must be ensured that women earn as much as men, it said. The step is to be cushioned with compensatory measures: If the reform comes into force as planned in 2024, women born between 1961 and 1969 will be able to take early retirement on better terms or receive a supplement if they work until 65. (dpa)