* Poll shows 62 pct of voters against buying Swedish jets
* Some 52 pct of voters in favour of a minimum wage
* Referendums to be held on May 18
ZURICH, March 16 A majority of Swiss voters are
against the purchase of 22 Gripen fighter jets from Swedish
defence firm Saab, a poll showed on Sunday, raising
the possibility that a popular vote due in May could scupper the
$3.4 billion deal.
Around 62 percent of voters would reject the proposal to
replace Switzerland's aging fleet of Northrop F-5 Tiger fighters
with the Gripen jets, according the survey conducted by polling
institute Leger and published in Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick.
The poll, which questioned more than 1,000 people, showed 32
percent of those who planned to vote were in favour of the deal.
The Gripens are unpopular with some in Switzerland, which
has not fought an international war for 200 years, because the
deal will require cost cuts in other areas, such as education.
Switzerland's upper and lower houses voted in favour of the
purchase of the jets in September, but Swiss interest groups can
secure referendums on new laws if they collect a sufficient
number of signatures.
The vote on the jet purchase is scheduled for May 18, the
same day as a popular vote on whether to adopt the world's
highest minimum wage.
The poll showed 52 percent of voters were in favour of
introducing a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs ($25.25) an hour,
or 4,000 francs a month.
Around 42 percent of voters said they would reject the
initiative, which the government said last month would hurt
competitiveness and lead to job cuts.
Swiss voters generally have a history of rejecting proposals
that they feel could hurt the economy.
However, last month they unexpectedly backed a proposal to
cap immigration from the European Union, despite warnings from
the business and political elite that it could be detrimental to
($1 = 0.8712 Swiss Francs)
(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)