Swiss voters have rejected a proposal by a nationalist party to automatically expel foreigners who commit even low-level crimes, Swiss public broadcaster SRF reported.

SRF on Sunday cited political research group gfs.bern, which projected the measure would be rejected by 59 percent of voters based on partial results from some polling areas.

The outcome comes as a blow to the Swiss People's Party, which had campaigned for the plan, and a turnaround from opinion polls last year which had predicted it would be accepted.

The referendum vote, proposed by the party, sought to expel any foreigner found guilty of crimes usually punishable with short jail sentences or fines such as giving false testimony or carrying drugs.

Opponents warned if the text passed, people born to foreign parents in Switzerland risk being deported to countries they have never lived in for petty offences.

The proposal was opposed by the government, parliament, and major political parties, which warned the move would circumvent the "fundamental rules" of democracy.

READ MORE: Anti-immigration party wins Swiss elections

Sunday's vote comes six years after more than half of Swiss voters backed a similar poll strengthening rules to automatically expel foreign nationals convicted of violent or sexual crimes.

SVP's campaign initially garnered strong support but appears to have lost some steam among voters.

More than 50,000 people, including hundreds of celebrities, signed a petition against the proposal.

 Al Jazeera World - Guns in Switzerland

Source: AFP