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Focus on the electoral roll

19.05.2017 – Marko Lehtinen

The Council of the Swiss Abroad’s spring meeting took place on 25 March in the Kursaal in Berne. In all, 66 Council members attended.

The meeting’s main point of discussion was a possible amendment to the electoral procedure of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) from 2021. A working group led by Franz Muheim, a CSA member from the UK, presented a report on this matter with recommendations. The working group indicated that future candidates should be entered on the Swiss electoral roll. Muheim said that CSA members should “be familiar with politics in Switzerland”. However, the same principle would not apply to voters. Entry on the electoral roll should not be made compulsory in order for them to vote. The Executive Board took a different view. It was not keen to establish any difference between active and passive voting rights for various reasons. This means that both candidates and voters should be entered on the electoral roll.

There was support for the working group’s position from the ranks – for example, from Mexico, the second country – alongside Australia – where a pilot project with a more open voting system is currently being carried out: “Great interest has been shown in our pilot project under which all Swiss Abroad can vote,” remarked Patrick Wyss, a CSA member from Mexico. However, some representatives held different views. For example, Jean-Paul Aeschlimann from France voiced clear support for the Executive Board’s proposal. In the end a majority of Council members voted in favour of the Executive Board’s proposal. Further work will be carried out on this issue in cooperation with the working group.

Voting also took place in the Kursaal on 25 March as well as debate. Peter Wüthrich was appointed as a new member from Switzerland and treasurer. Hans Ambühl is another new CSA member from Switzerland. In addition, two new Swiss societies were recognised by the OSA – the Swiss Society of Serbia and the Buffalo City Swiss Club from South Africa.