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Organisation of Swiss Abroad wants rights reinforced

An association campaigning for Swiss people abroad - a community known as the "Fifth Switzerland", when added to the four Swiss language regions - has called for their pension and political rights to be reinforced.

This content was published on March 25, 2000 - 18:10

An association campaigning for Swiss people abroad - a community known as the "Fifth Switzerland", when added to the four Swiss language regions - has called for their pension and political rights to be reinforced.

George Stucky, the president of the governing council of the Organisation of Swiss Abroad (the logo of which is pictured) said that the barriers to international mobility for Swiss people who wanted to live abroad had increased.

He was highly critical of what he called blocks on political participation. The number of Swiss voters outside the country is rising annually, and has now reached 70,000. In last year's elections to the House of Representatives, Pierre-Alain Bolomey, a foreign-resident Swiss, came just short of a seat.

Stucky said that this electoral failure was down to a lack of mobilisation, and administrative barriers to participation. He called for a simplification of voter-registration rules, which at present require regular re-registration in a voter's home district.

He called for the current system to be replaced by centralised electoral rolls at the cantonal level. Voting via the internet should also be introduced as soon as possible.

Stucky reserved his strongest criticism for the Senate's proposed changes to the state pension scheme, which he said would hit his members. Calling them "draconian, unfortunate, and counter-productive", he said he hoped the House of Representatives would come up with alternatives which would pay more attention to the needs of those living abroad.


by Jonathan Fowler

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