Swiss voters will decide whether to ban face-covering garments such as Muslim burqas and niqabs, the country’s government has announced. A referendum on the proposed ban – championed by far-right groups – will take place but is unlikely to be held before next year, AP reported on Friday.

The decision comes after advocates gathered over 100,000 signatures on a petition to put the initiative on the ballot under the system of direct democracy, which lets voters decide major policy issues.

The executive Federal Council will set a date for the referendum, but it is not expected to take place before 2018.

The vote would put Switzerland alongside France, Austria and other European countries in prohibiting face-covering garments.

Last year, the Italian-speaking Swiss region of Ticino enacted such a ban.